Criminal Minds Is Losing Its Time Slot To Former Star Shemar Moore's S.W.A.T. – Cinema Blend

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As Criminal Minds fanatics well remember, Shemar Moore’s Agent Derek Morgan made his departure from the team back in Season 11 (even though Moore had expressed wishes to leave in Season 10). Soon after he was officially out, Moore snapped up the lead role on CBS’ S.W.A.T. reboot, which finished up its second season earlier this month.

The network clearly has some ideas in place by flipping S.W.A.T. from its former home on Thursday nights over to the later Wednesday evening time slot. While it hasn’t exactly been exhaustively explained why CBS decided to introduce that schedule adjustment, the choice isn’t so wild as to defy science.

The network needed a strong and proven drama to slot into the Wednesday night schedule, which S.W.A.T. has been, averaging over 8 million viewers an episode after delayed viewing stats are tallied. Minus a couple of exceptions, S.W.A.T. regularly beat out Criminal Minds‘ live-viewing stats on a weekly basis, so it’s highly possible that bringing Shemar Moore back to Wednesday nights could be a boon for CBS. Especially paired back-to-back with David Boreanaz’s SEAL Team.

It could be argued that S.W.A.T.‘s ratings successes were influenced by its Thursday night time slot, following the two-hour comedy block that was formerly led by The Big Bang Theory. Despite the fact that S.W.A.T.‘s lead-ins were the ratings-troubled reboot Murphy Brown and Nina Dobrev’s Fam, which both got cancelled recently.

Since that viewership behemoth is over now, CBS can get a little looser with its Thursdays. With Young Sheldon now spearheading the evening, the network is premiering Mike Colter’s new drama Evil in the 10:00 p.m. slot. It’ll be interesting to see how well that show does in S.W.A.T.‘s place, especially since its debuting lead-in, Patricia Heaton’s new show Carol’s Second Act, doesn’t entirely match the same demographic.

Criminal Minds, of course, has long been one of CBS’ signature dramas, pulling out double-digit seasons similar to NCIS and its spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles. Behind-the-scenes troubles and ratings issues have hindered the drama’s overall success in recent years, however, and it was decided that Season 15 would be its swan song.

No doubt the biggest question that fans will have going into Season 15 is this: will Shemar Moore’s Derek Morgan return one final time before it’s all over with? Moore memorably made a couple of cameos on the crime drama after departing, appearing once in Season 12 and once in Season 13.

Considering neither one of those episodes killed Derek off or sent him away to outer space or anything, it’s perfectly within reason to expect Erica Messer to figure out a way to bring Shemar Moore back for Criminal Minds‘ big farewell to fans. I’m not saying everybody should get pumped for Derek and his Baby Girl Garcia to follow up Rossi’s wedding with their own, but we want to see some sparks flying, dang it!

Criminal Minds Season 15 still doesn’t have an exact premiere date, though audiences can expect to see it debuting on CBS in early 2020. S.W.A.T. also doesn’t have a specific date when it’ll debut Season 3, but it’ll be hitting the network for its new Wednesday night time slot this fall.

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Lawyers for freed Navy SEAL want war crime case dismissed – KSFY

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Attorneys for a decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner will try again Friday to have the case dismissed after their client was unexpectedly freed from custody.

Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, left, hugs his wife, Andrea Gallagher, after leaving a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in San Diego. The decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)

A military judge released Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher from custody on Thursday, which drew gasps in a San Diego courtroom.

The judge, Capt. Aaron Rugh, said releasing Gallagher was a remedy for prosecutors interfering with his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Gallagher’s lawyers have condemned the prosecution for launching an unusual effort to find the source of news leaks in the politically charged case by embedding tracking code in emails sent to defense attorneys and a Navy Times journalist.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore had accused prosecutors of a “rogue, relentless, and unlawful cyber campaign” that may have violated attorney-client privilege and hurt his client’s ability to get a fair trial.

Gallagher’s wife, Andrea, who has led a campaign to free her husband, put her hands to her face and burst into tears.

“I feel like it’s a small victory on the way to the larger victory,” Andrea Gallagher said outside court while her husband stood quietly by her side in his Navy whites.

He declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Navy prosecutors also wouldn’t comment on Gallagher’s freedom or developments at the hearing, which continues Friday.

Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of an injured teenage militant in Iraq in 2017 and attempted murder for allegedly picking off civilians from a sniper’s perch.

His platoon supervisor, Lt. Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the militant’s corpse.

Efforts to get the case thrown out come as President Donald Trump considers pardoning several service members accused of war crimes, including Gallagher, who faces trial June 10.

Evidence at the hearing showed prosecutors enlisted a Naval Criminal Investigative Service intelligence specialist to conduct criminal background checks on three civilian lawyers, including Parlatore, and a journalist with the Navy Times who has broken several stories based on leaked documents.

On Thursday, Rugh said investigators told him privately that they planned to embed code in what he believed to be a court document to help them find the source of leaks but the judge said he didn’t have the power to authorize it and wasn’t told they planned to target emails sent to the defense lawyers or a journalist.

The lead prosecutor downplayed the move at a related hearing earlier in the day. Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak said the code embedded in the email recorded nothing more than where and when messages were opened by recipients.

Czaplak said the tracking ended May 10 after he was confronted by defense lawyers who discovered the code in an unusual logo of an American flag with a bald eagle perched on the scales of justice beneath Czaplak’s signature.

On Thursday, Czaplak said the code was similar to what marketers use to see when an email is opened and on what device.

“It’s still a web bug and it’s still unethical,” countered defense lawyer Jeremiah J. Sullivan III, who represents Portier.

The judge in Portier’s case, Capt. Jonathan Stephens, said from what he had seen the tracking effort wasn’t able to view the contents of any emails.

Several experts testified that the code couldn’t generally be used to identify a specific person or capture content.


Melley reported from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Mark Zuckerberg's personal security chief accused of sexual harassment and making racist remarks about Priscilla Chan by 2 former staffers (FB)

facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s personal head of security has been accused of misconduct by two former members of the Facebook CEO’s private staff.
  • Liam Booth, a former Secret Service agent, has been accused of sexual harassment and making racist, homophobic, and transphobic comments.
  • The two former staffers have hired the high-profile law firm the Bloom Firm to represent them, Business Insider has learned.
  • Brian Mosteller, another one of Zuckerberg’s key aides, has been accused of failing to act after complaints were raised.
  • A spokesperson for Zuckerberg’s family office said it takes “complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously,” it has hired a law firm to investigate, and Booth has been put on “administrative leave” until the matter is resolved.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mark Zuckerberg’s personal head of security has been accused of sexual harassment and making racist and homophobic comments by two former members of the Facebook CEO’s private staff, Business Insider has learned. They allege, among other things, that the security chief repeatedly made racist remarks about Zuckerberg’s Asian American wife, Priscilla Chan.

One of the accusers is a former employee of the 34-year-old billionaire’s household staff who was responsible for preparing Zuckerberg’s various homes for the family’s arrival; the other is a former executive assistant to Liam Booth, Zuckerberg’s security chief. Both have retained the law firm of the California attorney Lisa Bloom, whose legal efforts on the behalf of Bill O’Reilly’s accusers in 2017 helped get the TV host fired from Fox News, according to legal demand letters reviewed by Business Insider. 

The letters, which Bloom sent to a law firm representing the companies that provide security and support for Zuckerberg’s family, lay out a litany of allegations against Booth, a former Secret Service agent responsible for overseeing security for Zuckerberg’s household and non-Facebook-affiliated enterprises. They describe “pervasive discriminatory conduct,” “horrific levels of sexual harassment and battery,” and an environment in which support staff were repeatedly subjected to racist, homophobic, and transphobic diatribes.

The letters also accuse Brian Mosteller, the managing director of Zuckerberg’s private office and a former special assistant to former President Barack Obama, of failing to take action after the two staffers raised complaints. There is no allegation that Zuckerberg himself was aware of the alleged harassment.

The allegations are startling because they make accusations of overt racism and sexual impropriety within the most intimate confines of a famously private and unimaginably wealthy family. While Facebook has been rocked by public scandals over the past two years, Zuckerberg has kept his family insulated from the fallout. But the accusations against Booth and Mosteller have the potential to bring a different crisis to the very center of his domestic affairs, and they represent a potentially profound betrayal of trust on the part of the very man that Zuckerberg charges to protect the safety of his children. Facebook spends $20 million annually on Zuckerberg’s personal protection and travel.

“The family office takes complaints of workplace misconduct very seriously and our human resources team promptly investigates all such matters,” Ben LaBolt, Zuckerberg’s family office spokesman, said in a statement to Business Insider. “The allegations against Liam Booth were brought to the office’s attention for the first time by The Bloom Firm after both former employees had left employment by the family office and engaged legal counsel. As soon as The Bloom Firm presented these allegations, the family office engaged Munger, Tolles & Olson, an outside law firm, to conduct an investigation of all allegations made by The Bloom Firm to determine whether the claims have merit. The investigation is ongoing. Mr. Booth is on administrative leave pending the completion of this investigation.”

Sally Mitchell, a senior attorney at the Bloom Firm, confirmed to Business Insider that the former employees were the firm’s clients and declined to comment further. One of the former staffers referred an inquiry to Mitchell. The other did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Business Insider is not identifying them because they say they are victims of sexual harassment and have not made their allegations public. Booth referred questions to LaBolt, and Mosteller did not respond to texts and a call. Munger, Tolles & Olson did not respond to multiple emails requesting comment.

Alleged remarks about Priscilla Chan and Black Lives Matter: ‘White lives matter more than Black lives’

Booth heads up the security operations for Zuckerberg’s personal infrastructure while also working as the chief security officer for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Zuckerberg and Chan’s philanthropic vehicle. He previously worked for the US Secret Service between 2001 and 2017, including a five-year stint working to “supervise the physical protection for the President and the first family of the United States” during the Obama years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The two people accusing Booth of misconduct worked for two different Zuckerberg-affiliated companies, one of which handles security and the other household affairs.

One of the demand letters alleges that Booth made racist remarks to the household staffer about Chan’s driving ability, including that “she’s a woman and Asian, and Asians have no peripheral vision,” while pulling his eyelids to the side in a racist caricature. 

The other letter alleges Booth made a series of racist remarks to the security staffer. On more than one occasion, the letter alleges, Booth told the staffer he “didn’t trust Black people” and “white lives matter more than Black lives.” The letter also alleges that Booth bragged about deliberately attempting to undermine Chan’s diversity goals in hiring and “complain[ed] about the number of Black people who worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” When the security staffer objected to that remark, the letter alleges, Booth “angrily advocat[ed] against diversity in the workplace and the movement Black Lives Matters, which he called ‘reverse racism.'”

A source who has worked around Booth and wished to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak publicly told Business Insider they had also heard Booth say “Asians can’t drive” and disparage Chan because of her ethnicity.

mark zuckerberg priscilla chan initiative

Accusations of sexual harassment and homophobia: ‘I’ll feed you something raw’

Both letters also accuse Booth of sexual harassment and homophobic conduct. At a July 2018 event at the sushi restaurant Nobu, one letter alleges, Booth grabbed his own crotch and told the household staffer, who is gay, “I’ll feed you something raw.” Later at the same event, the staffer alleges, Booth slapped the staffer’s crotch and groped his buttocks, asking, “Are you still hungry?” Booth is also accused of making other homophobic remarks and talking about the size of the staffer’s penis in front of other employees.

The letters also allege repeated instances of sexual harassment against the security staffer. On one occasion, the letters allege Booth decided a shirt the staffer was wearing was “distracting” and made him “uncomfortable.” Rather than address the issue directly, the letter alleges, Booth tried to get other employees to tell her, including the household staffer because “he was a gay.”

The security staffer also accused Booth’s aide Laura McClain of requesting that the she bend over so she could see her buttocks.

Both letters allege that Booth repeatedly demeaned a transgender staffer, referring to the person as “it” instead of their preferred pronoun. When the security staffer was tasked with taking the transgender employee’s identification to the local post office so that they would be authorized to pick up Zuckerberg’s mail, Booth is accused of saying, “Keep ‘it’ away from me.” When the security staffer objected, the letters allege Booth laughed and responded, “Just close my door whenever ‘it’ comes in here.”

Both accusers say complaints were ignored: ‘Men are in power here’

Both letters say the employees repeatedly raised objections to Booth’s conduct but were ignored. The letters allege one human-resources employee told the security staffer on different occasions that “men are in power here” and that the issues she raised “were not show stoppers.” 

The household staffer, according to the letters, complained to his manager, Brian Mosteller, multiple times about Booth’s behavior and “reached out to Priscilla Chan to expose to her the damaging, unlawful conduct that was taking place at her family enterprise,” but nothing was done. According to the letters, he was placed on medical leave and offered a severance package on February 22, and ultimately resigned. It’s not clear whether his effort to reach Chan was successful, or whether she was made aware of his concerns.

Booth fired the security staffer on February 20, the letters say, apparently for telling another staffer about a negative write-up she had received and for “roll[ing] her eyes in a meeting.”

The letters demand compensation for lost wages and damages for emotional distress. One source close to the matter told Business Insider that Booth’s conduct had previously been investigated by the human-resources department of Iconiq Capital, the wealth-management and investment firm that established and manages the sprawling web of entities that manage Zuckerberg’s household affairs. 

If the allegations are true, the episode raises questions as to why Iconiq failed to take action sooner. The firm also handles the affairs of other A-list Silicon Valley figures, such as Jack Dorsey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Reid Hoffman, according to Forbes. And Forbes has also described Iconiq founder Divesh Makan as the “consigliere to Silicon Valley’s brightest billionaires.”

While the statement from Zuckerberg’s spokesman said Booth was placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider Booth was present at work today and that there has been no change in his duties. LaBolt, the spokesman, said that’s “not accurate.”

Iconiq did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

lisa bloom lawyer

Zuckerberg’s secretive network of household companies

Mark Zuckerberg’s household affairs are handled by a discreet web of organizations.

One exists to look after his personal security (Facebook handles some of his security requirements, but other aspects of his protection are handled externally), controlling the $20 million pot of protection and travel money provided by Facebook in 2018. Other entities take care of domestic matters — from housekeeping to managing his various properties — and employ household staffers for Zuckerberg and Chan.

Zuckerberg’s personal security is distinct from Facebook’s security apparatus — and a tiny fraction of the size.

The Silicon Valley social-networking company has an army of 6,000 security workers around the globe, a previous Business Insider investigation found, tasked with everything from protecting the company’s campuses from disgruntled barred users to helping secure employees’ overseas travel in times of international crises. The Facebook CEO himself has an incredibly high public profile and faces an array of risks, including stalkers and numerous death threats.

There are more than 70 people on the in-house executive protection team, which is led by Jill Leavens Jones, a former US Secret Service special agent. Facebook’s overall security unit is headed up by Nick Lovrien, a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer.

Reached for comment, Facebook’s vice president of executive communications referred Business Insider to the statement provided by LaBolt and highlighted a blog post written by Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, in 2017 that shared Facebook’s policies on sexual harassment publicly.

“Harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace are unacceptable but have been tolerated for far too long,” Sandberg wrote. “At Facebook, we treat any allegations of such behavior with great seriousness, and we have invested significant time and resources into developing our policies and processes.”

Do you know more? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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Fairness for accused? Or danger to all? D.A., defense lawyers slug it out over bail-reform –

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Prosecutors and defense lawyers have sharply divergent opinions of the recently-passed criminal justice and bail-reform laws.

And that’s putting it mildly.

The laws, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, eliminate bail for nearly all misdemeanor charges and many felony charges.

The controversial legislation has sparked dueling and tartly-worded opinion pieces in the Advance and on, with District Attorney Michael E. McMahon on one side and the Legal Aid Society and the Staten Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Association on the other.

The Legal Aid Society represents indigent individuals, who comprise the majority of the defendants who appear before the court.

McMahon blasted the law as the byproduct of legislators’ “irresponsible and soft-on-crime policies.”

The new statute will not only hinder law enforcement’s ability to protect crime victims, but parts of it will put “hundreds of major drug defendants” back on the street, he said.

“This wave (of criminal-justice reforms) will sweep us back to the dark ages of the ‘70s and ‘80s and give the wild gangs, violent thugs, death-dealing pushers and violators of women and children the keys to the city,” the D.A. wrote.

“It is indeed idiotic and outrageous,” McMahon opined, urging borough residents to implore their legislators and the governor to amend the new laws before they take effect.

The Staten Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Association shot back in its own opinion piece. The group contends McMahon, who’s running for re-election in November, is resorting to “fearmongering and misdirection” in a bid to rejigger the legislation.

“The law is here to protect all persons regardless of race, creed, background or economic statuses,” wrote the group.

Statutes, as currently written, give prosecutors an unfair advantage by allowing them to withhold crucial information until the day of trial, the association says.

Not only are defendants left guessing about the strength of the case against them, they are set up for a “trial by ambush,” maintains the group.

“If things were changed to reflect the opinions of D.A. McMahon, your families, friends and neighbors would be at risk of being treated as if they were guilty until proven innocent,” the group contends.

In a separate Op-Ed, Christopher Pisciotta, attorney-in-charge of the Staten Island Criminal Defense Practice at the Legal Aid Society, contends the reforms are “long-needed.”

The new statute will level the scales of justice which, Pisciotta wrote, “tilt in the favor of the government … (and) incarcerates poor people who can’t afford to buy their freedom.”

“Our old, flawed criminal justice system can drive innocent New Yorkers to plead guilty to offenses they did not commit just to secure freedom from incarceration, to return to their families, their work and schools, and their communities,” wrote Pisciotta.


Under the law, bail will be eliminated for all misdemeanor charges, with the exceptions of sex offenses and criminal contempt for violating an order of protection in a domestic violence case.

Bail and pretrial detention are also scrapped for nearly all nonviolent felonies with the exceptions being witness intimation or tampering, murder conspiracy, contempt charges involving domestic violence and some offenses against children, sex charges and terrorism-related offenses.

In cases where there’s a risk of flight, judges can set a number of conditions upon a defendant’s release, including electronic monitoring for 60 days with an option to renew, supervised release, travel restrictions or limitations on weapon possession during the pretrial phase.

Bail and detention will still be permitted for virtually all violent felonies, except specific sub-sections of second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary.

According to the Center for Court Innovation, only 10% of the nearly 205,000 criminal cases arraigned in the five boroughs in 2018 would have been eligible for bail under the new law.

That means the vast majority of defendants would have been released pending the disposition of their case.

It’s particularly disturbing, say McMahon and Bridget Brennan, the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, that prosecutors will be able to seek bail and detention for only a handful of drug defendants – those specifically charged with “operating as a major trafficker.”

The A-1 felony carries a possible life sentence.

At a recent hearing before the City Council’s Committee on the Justice System, Brennan testified that her office has charged less than two dozen defendants under the Major Trafficker statute in the past five years.

In contrast, Brennan wrote in a Daily News Op-Ed on April 11, she’s charged, over the same time period, more than 1,000 defendants with other A-1 Level felonies, which carry a maximum 20-year sentence.

Brennan said she could not seek bail or detention for those defendants under the new law.

“Once the bail changes take effect, defendants facing these latter categories of serious A level felony charges will walk out of the court with no bail set,” Brennan testified.


The new law also requires prosecutors to provide most of their evidence to the defense within 15 days after arraignment. If prosecutors don’t have that information or there’s too much material to turn over, they have an additional 30 days to give it to the defense.

McMahon said he’s particularly concerned about releasing witnesses’ and victims’ name and contact information to the defense in the early stages of the case. That information typically had been turned over shortly before the start of trial.

The new law also allows the defense to seek a court order to access a crime scene or other premises, including victims’ or witnesses’ homes, he said.

The D.A. fears the early disclosure of that information could have a chilling effect on witness cooperation.

“It’s hard to imagine a victim of a crime willing to move forward with the prosecution of a criminal case while at the same time being forced to comply with these ridiculous measures,” said McMahon.

He contends the provisions threaten victims’ and witnesses’ safety and will require more time and resources to keep those individuals safe throughout the case.

At the City Council hearing, McMahon estimated his office would need at least an additional $2.8 million to implement the new reforms.

Pisciotta, of the Legal Aid Society, countered that crime victims’ safety and interests remain protected by the law.

Prosecutors, and the defense for that matter, can seek a protective order that could restrict, deny or set conditions on discoverable material, including witness information.

Said Mark J. Fonte, a St. George-based criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor: “Witnesses do not belong to one side or the other, so both sides should be able to interview them.”

The Staten Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Association said the Brooklyn district attorney’s office has successfully practiced open discovery “for decades,” handing over evidence against the defendant near the start of the case.

“Witnesses are still showing up to court. Victims are still pressing forward and testifying at trial,” the group wrote. “Same thing goes for New Jersey. None of what D.A McMahon warns about it actually happening.”

McMahon said he supports measures that would prevent defendants from being held on bail simply because they can’t pay it; however, he opposes the legislation as written.

“Without hearings or meaningful input from law enforcement, they passed a package of bills written by and served up on a silver platter by the defendants’ lawyers,” McMahon said in a statement to the Advance. “They did not listen to victims’ advocates, police and detectives, judges, corrections officers or prosecutors.”

“We, who every day protect and serve, have been cast as the ‘enemy,’” said the D.A.

McMahon, who said he has reduced the wait in jail to a defendant’s arraignment by almost 33% and deferred over 600 addicted drug defendants from prosecution to treatment, also took a swipe at the Staten Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s charges of fear mongering.

“I find it rich that my critics hide behind the anonymity of a made-up defendants’ organization or question my commitment to fair and effective prosecution in my home community of Staten Island and they drive home every evening to their tony neighborhoods in New Jersey,” he said.

In a Daily News opinion piece, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the NYPD favors “responsible bail reform.”

However, O’Neill said he fears the new law will have “a significant negative impact on public safety.”

Among other things, he said, judges will be forbidden from remanding or setting bail even for flight risks in the cases of lower-level burglaries and robberies and nearly all drug-trafficking cases, regardless of the defendant’s criminal record.


Fonte, the defense lawyer and former prosecutor, said Staten Islanders have no reason to fear the reforms.

“There is nothing in the new laws which should cause any concern for the people of Staten Island,” said Fonte. “Violent criminals will remain held and incarcerated. Nonviolent criminals will be given dates to return to court. The new law brings a sense of fairness to the criminal justice system.”

He said the sentencing guidelines will remain the same, and defendants charged with violent crimes “will be subject to the same bail conditions which have existed for decades.”

Pisciotta said New York’s discovery laws are among the most restrictive in the nation and have been referred to as “blindfold laws.”

Under them, state prosecutors are allowed to withhold crucial evidence, such as witness statements, grand jury testimony and other forms of evidence gathered, from the defense until the day of trial, both Pisciotta and the defense lawyers’ group say.

As a result, Pisciotta said, defendants must make vital decisions to go to trial or plead guilty “without knowing critical information and evidence.”

“We cannot continue to use bail to force people to give up their day in court,” wrote Pisciotta. “We cannot force people to make such critical Constitutionally-protected decisions without being informed of the nature of the evidence.”

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City lawyer in Mount Vernon charged in probe by state Attorney General's Office – The Journal News |

Mount Vernon’s top lawyer pleaded not guilty today following his indictment in what state prosecutors allege was a $365,000 scheme to use city water department money to fund Mayor Richard Thomas’ criminal-defense legal bills and hire a public relations firm. 

Corporation Counsel Lawrence Porcari Jr. was arraigned on felony charges including corruption and grand larceny after surrendering to authorities earlier in the morning.

Westchester County Judge David Zuckerman released Porcari without bail. Porcari declined to say anything as he left the courthouse with his lawyer.

“We’re looking forward to a speedy resolution at which time we hope Mr. Porcari will be vindicated of all these charges,” the lawyer, Nicholas Kaizer, said.

The most serious charge in the seven-count indictment, first-degree corrupting the government, carries mandatory incarceration and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Porcari was also charged with one count each of second-degree grand larceny and defrauding the government and four counts of offering a false instrument for filing.

In a joint press release with Attorney General Letitia James, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Porcari “violated both his duty as a public servant and as an attorney by diverting public money and falsifying records.”

“New York has zero tolerance for those who cheat taxpayers, commit fraud, or violate the public trust,” said James.

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Porcari was indicted by the same grand jury that voted not to charge Thomas after hearing evidence about the use of city water department funds to pay for the mayor’s legal bills.

The mayor, running for a second term and facing a stiff challenge in the June 25 Democratic primary, is still facing grand larceny and false statement charges. He is accused of stealing $12,900 from his campaign committee and failing to report on city ethics forms more than $75,000 he received from his inaugural committee and several individuals and companies. His trial is scheduled for July 8.

Two of Thomas’ opponents, City Council President Andre Wallace and Shawyn Patterson-Howard, a former city planning commissioner, called on the mayor to resign.

“It’s time to stop pretending that the buck doesn’t stop with Mayor Thomas, that it’s always someone else’s fault,” said Wallace, who later penned a letter to Thomas demanding Porcari’s ouster. “This administration has lost its way, clearly, and they have repeatedly acted like the rules don’t apply to them.”

Patterson-Howard, who recently hosted a Town Hall on integrity in government, said public officials cannot use their positions for financial gain.

“Mount Vernon cannot afford any more indicted elected officials,” she wrote on  a post to “We cannot afford any elected officials who misuse and attempt to defraud the  people.”

The fourth candidate on the ballot, former police commissioner Clyde Isley, stopped short of calling on the mayor to step down but said he was clearly responsible for what Porcari did. Isley questioned how the mayor can expect taxpayers to fund his criminal defense and suggested that water-rate hikes coincided with the mayor’s personal need for money.  

“It appears that he knowingly sought counsel regarding use of water department funds to pay his legal expenses and seemingly has no problem doing so,” Isley said in a statement.

Councilman Marcus Griffith said Thomas should be held responsible because he’s the sole beneficiary of Porcari’s alleged scheme.

“The Mayor is in charge of these agencies and he either knows what went on or he’s willfully blind to what’s going on,” Griffith said.

Late in the afternoon, Thomas issued a statement defending his administration’s top lawyer and predicting he would be vindicated. He cited instances in which Porcari had obtained court orders blocking obstruction of the Thomas administration by the city council and comptroller.

“I have the highest confidence in Corporation Counsel Porcari’s legal judgment as he has served with distinction since joining my administration in 2016,” Thomas said. “Larry did nothing wrong and everyone must remember that an indictment is simply an accusation based on allegations that must be proven in court.”

He suggested that the charges were based on the same “false narrative” that grand jurors rejected by choosing not to indict him. He said it was part of the “Rich-hunt being facilitated by political enemies.” 

The Journal News/lohud reported extensively last spring on Thomas’ efforts to have the city Board of Estimate & Contract retain the firm of Boies Schiller Flexner for unspecified purposes as well as the hiring of the public relations firm, Todd Shapiro Associates. The PR firm was already working for Thomas as of the day of his arrest in March 2018. And within weeks Thomas was being represented in his criminal case by Randall Jackson, a lawyer for Boies Schiller.

The PR firm stepped down in May days after Thomas’ indictment. An official said they had been paid but refused to disclose the source of the payment.

A spokesman for the law firm on Wednesday would say only that they were cooperating with the Attorney General’s investigation. Asked if the firm has returned any of the water department money, he would not respond.

The misappropriated money came from the Mount Vernon Board of Water Supply, which runs the city water department as a separate agency outside the oversight of the city comptroller.

Prosecutors contend that Porcari arranged for water department funds to go to the lawyers as well as the public relations firm. And in the fall, they said, he directed more water department money to go to a second law firm representing Thomas.  

“To further the scheme, Porcari allegedly submitted memorandums to the Board of Water Supply for “emergency” payments to the law firms, including memorandums containing false statements,” according to the press release.

Prosecutors have not publicly identified any of the firms that got water department money

Asked last week whether the grand jury had indicted anyone, including Porcari, one of the mayor’s lawyers, Michael Pizzi, said he did not. 

Porcari, who lives in Yonkers, has run the city’s law department since Thomas took office in January 2016. He has also served as the vice chairman of the Industrial Development Agency. He had previously worked as an associate lawyer in the office of the Yonkers Corporation Counsel.

He has been the point man regarding several controversial moves by the Thomas administration. Early on in the administration, it was Porcari who signed a contract for the emergency demolition of a home while bypassing the rules requiring the involvement of the city council and the Board of Estimate and Contract. When the comptroller refused to pay and the contractor sued, Porcari settled the lawsuit for the entire amount. 

He was among the administration officials who successfully sued then Comptroller Maureen Walker and the city council when they tried to block their employment because they did not live in Mount Vernon. His living in Yonkers did not violate residency requirements.

Besides Thomas himself, Porcari is the latest member of the mayor’s administration to face legal trouble.

Fraida Hickson, a deputy police commissioner in charge of the parking bureau, pleaded guilty last month to a federal insurance fraud charge, admitting the unauthorized use of someone else’s credit to get more than $7,000 worth of plastic surgery.

Buildings Commissioner Dan Jones was charged with DWI in New Rochelle in January after driving his city SUV into a car and a tree and onto a sidewalk. He had eight license suspensions at the time. His license is still suspended, according to the state DMV, and his DWI case is pending.

Businessman Joseph Spiezio, a key campaign advisor who Thomas made his deputy police commissioner, was pulled over by a New Rochelle police officer in February when he was seen using the siren on his city SUV to get around traffic. He was cited for driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor, but pleaded guilty to a violation of not having his license with him at the time and paid a $100 fine.

Twitter: @jonbandler

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'Criminal Minds' Season 15 Air Date Possibly Delayed, Final Season To Be Split In 2 Parts? – Business Times

It has truly been a long journey, but Criminal Minds is finally coming to an end. CBS has already confirmed that Season 15 will be the last one for the police procedural crime drama and it is going to be much shorter than its predecessors. So is it possible that the network could be planning to make the most out of the last 10 episodes? There are speculations that the final season will premiere in early 2020 and could be split into two parts.

Back in January, fans were understandably dismayed when CBS announced that Criminal Minds Season 15 would be the last one for the long-running series. In addition to that, the final season will be drastically shortened to only 10 episodes, which means that the show could rush into tying up every character’s story arc. But will people have to wait until next year to find out how everything works out for their beloved characters?

Although CBS renewed Criminal Minds back in January, the network has yet to give Season 15 an official air date. This has led to speculations that the final season could get pushed back to a 2020 premiere. This way, the series would still end by spring. Unfortunately, this would mean people would have to wait until January or February next year for the last season.

A later premiere might seem like a long wait, but fans are still hoping that Criminal Minds Season 15 will air later this year. After all, the cast and crew have reportedly already wrapped filming the final season so the last 10 episodes could be ready by September or October. It’s a hopeful idea, and there is a possibility that CBS will announce the show’s air date in the next few months.

But what are the chances that Criminal Minds Season 15 will be split into two parts? There have been speculations that the first five episodes will air in late 2019 while the remaining five could premiere in early 2020. It’s an unusual thought that could ruin the final season’s momentum. For now, it is best to take this idea with a grain of salt.

The final season could bring back some villains from the past and explore the possible relationship between Jennifer ‘JJ’ Jareau and Dr. Spencer Reid. Additionally, one member of the BAU could provide fans with a major shocker.

Criminal Minds Season 15 does not have an official air date. Keep checking this page for more updates on the final season.

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Prosecutors Want to Use Crime-Fraud Exception to Compel Bloomfield Attorney's Testimony | New Jersey Law Journal –

The defense bar is fighting a move by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office to compel a criminal defense lawyer to testify against his former client.

The prosecutor’s office has served a subpoena on Landry Belizaire, an attorney in Bloomfield, over his representation of Roydell Cameron on sexual assault charges. The prosecutor’s office claims the crime-fraud exception permits it to pierce the attorney-client privilege. But a lawyer representing Belizaire says the breach of attorney-client privilege is unwarranted. The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is seeking to join the case as an amicus curiae.

Belizaire made arrangements for his client to turn himself in to the prosecutor in connection with the sexual assault, but Cameron, of Bronx, New York, did not appear at the scheduled time. Cameron was apprehended at John F. Kennedy Airport on March 29 as he was about to board a flight to Jamaica. Cameron, 40, was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and making terroristic threats. The arrest stems from the sexual assault of a woman at gunpoint in Palisades Park in April 2005.

The prosecutor’s office served Belizaire with a subpoena duces tecum for documents, including all communications with his client, and any third parties concerning the voluntary surrender. The subpoena also seeks to compel Belizaire to testify against his client before a grand jury.

When Belizaire sought to invoke attorney-client privilege, the prosecutor told him the crime-fraud exception applies.

Belizaire is represented by Raymond Brown of Scarinci Hollenbeck in Lyndhurst. Brown called efforts to compel Belizaire’s testimony “overreaching.”

Belizaire, now conflicted out of representing Cameron, withdrew from the case. Hackensack attorney Brian Neary now represents Cameron.

Lawyers in the case were scheduled to hold a conference call with Superior Court Judge Margaret Foti of Bergen County on Tuesday to set a briefing schedule.

Belizaire “was placed in an unenviable position by a prosecutor with a reputation for overreaching,” said John Azzarello, president of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, in a May 23 email to members of that group. The subpoena was issued by Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer, and its issuance was approved by Dennis Calo, Azzarello said in that email.

Calo served as acting prosecutor until May 21, when Mark Musella was sworn in. The ACDL agreed to serve as amicus because prosecutors’ attempts to pierce attorney-client privilege represent a “very important and seemingly recurring issue,” Azzarello said in the email.

Grootenboer has made clear that she believes Belizaire was not complicit in Cameron’s attempt to flee, but the state believes Cameron used Belizaire without his knowledge to stall the date and time for surrender, Azzarello said in the email.

In 2018, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office lost its bid to breach attorney-client privilege in a civil suit accusing it of blowing the cover of a confidential informant. The prosecutor’s office sought to compel testimony of Robert Tandy, a lawyer representing a detective who induced Frank Lagano to become an informant. After Lagano was shot and killed in 2007 outside an East Brunswick diner he owned, in a crime that remains unsolved, his estate sued the prosecutor’s office.

In that case, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office claimed Tandy waived his attorney-client privilege when his client filed a suit against the attorney general raising allegations similar to the ones in the Lagano case. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor rejected the office’s argument, saying that no court “has construed the filing of a complaint as a blanket waiver for all communications between an attorney and his or her client.”

A spokeswoman for the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Maureen Parenta, declined to answer questions about its subpoena of Belizaire because it is an open matter.

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A laptop infected with 6 of the most dangerous computer viruses in history was sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $1.345 million — here's what each virus can do

laptop with malware guo dong 2x1

  • A laptop that’s utterly infested with six of the worst computer viruses and malware known to man was sold at auction for $1.345 million on Monday.
  • The types of viruses on the laptop are said to have caused $95 billion in financial damages worldwide. 
  • The laptop has had its internet connectivity and ports disabled, which hopefully means the malware within has no way to spread…hopefully. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A 2008 Samsung NC10 laptop running Windows XP just sold at auction for a whopping $1.345 million. 

Although the 11-year-old machine may have nostalgic value to some, what makes this one so special (and expensive) is that it comes with live specimens of six of the most dangerous computer viruses in existence. 

In a livestream on Twitch, the laptop can be seen turned on and running the viruses and malware. But the laptop wasn’t sold as a cyber weapon on a darkweb black market. It was sold as art.

The virus-infected laptop is an art installation called “The Persistence of Chaos” by artist Guo O Dong. 

persistence of chaos malware laptop

According to a website promoting the piece, Dong is a “contemporary internet artist whose work critiques modern day extremely-online culture. The Persistence of Chaos was created as a collaboration between the artist and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and technical expertise to execute the work in a safe environment.”

Dong said the viruses in the laptop have caused $95 billion in financial damages. It’s unlikely that the laptop itself was the cause of the $95 billion in damages. It’s more likely that the viruses it contains are the same that are known to have caused damages worldwide.

“The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States”

Dong’s laptop is “airgapped,” which means its ability to connect to the internet has been disabled. Its ports have also been disabled, so USB sticks can’t be used to transfer its threats.

The terms of the auction also state that “The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States. As a buyer you recognize that this work represents a potential security hazard. By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you’re purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware.”

Of course, anyone with an intermediate knowledge of computers would have no trouble figuring out a way to extract the viruses from the hard drive, despite the fact that the laptop itself is airgapped.

The details of the auction, including the selling price, were reported by Dong himself on his website. So it’s worth taking the claims with a grain of salt until the sale can be verified. Deep Instinct, the firm that Dong partnered with, did not immediately return a request for comment.

The buyer of The Persistence of Chaos is anonymous. Here’s hoping Dong’s dangerous art didn’t fall into the wrong hands. 

Check out the infamous computer viruses running on the most dangerous laptop in the world:

SEE ALSO: Can iPhones get viruses? Here’s what you need to know


“The “ILOVEYOU” virus, distributed via email and file sharing, affected 500,000+ systems and caused $15B in damages total, with $5.5B in damages being caused in the first week,” according to Dong’s site.

The “ILOVEYOU” virus was designed to replace media files on a computer, like photos and videos, with copies of the bug itself. It would then spread itself by emailing contacts in a user’s Outlook account. 

The virus overloaded email system around the world, and a “huge chunk of the businesses and governments to fully grind down to a halt,” said Philip Menke, a consultant at Intel Security who spoke with Vice



“MyDoom” was a worm designed to leave infected computers open to other malware and viruses, according to a 2004 Cnet article. Computers would become infected when a user opened an attachment send in an email containing the MyDoom worm. Dong estimated “MyDoom”caused $38 billion in damages.


When it was first released, the “SoBig” worm and trojan virus “briefly brought freight and computer traffic in Washington, D.C. to a halt, grounded Air Canada and slowed down computer systems at many major companies such as advanced technology firm Lockheed Martin,” according to a 2003 CNN article

“SoBig” would be transmitted via email. Once the infected email was opened, it would scan the computer for other email address and spread itself further. 

Dong estimates that “SoBig” caused $37 billion in damages.


“WannaCry” is a recent “cryptoworm” that acted as ransomware — where a user’s data would be encrypted until the user paid a ransom to have their data released.

“The attack affected 200,000+ computers across 150 countries, and caused the NHS $100M in damages with further totals accumulating close to $4B,” Dong said on the Persistence of Chaos website.


“DarkTequila” is malware that was prevalent in Latin America designed to collect a wide variety of data from an infected computer, including credentials to online services. That data could then be used for additional attacks, according to The Next Web

Dong estimates it cost “millions in damages across many users.”


“BlackEnergy” was originally intended as a data collection tool, but it evolved into malware that could damage a nation’s critical infrastructure, according to Al Jazeera.

Dong said “BlackEnergy” was used used in a cyberattack “that prompted a large-scale blackout in Ukraine in December 2015.” 

You can read about the Ukraine blackout here.

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'Criminal Minds' Fans Call out Matthew Gray Gubler's Bizarre Photo –

Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler‘s recent social media post has some fans doing a double take and putting the sleuthing skills they’ve learned from the popular CBS drama to good use.

The actor took to Twitter on May 15 to celebrate the CBS police procedural crime drama’s 300th episode. For the occasion, Gubler had shared a photo with the cast and crew which he had captioned with a series of heart emojis.

The actor has starred as supervisory special agent Dr. Spencer Reid since its inception back in 2005.

While plenty of fans were struggling to contain the emotions evoked by the post, many more were simply caught up on the peculiar image of a man in the recycling bin in the background.

But the man in the recycling bin wasn’t the only eye-catching piece of the photo, as one user even pointed out what appeared to be a man levitating.

The bit of comedic relief comes as fans prepare for the final run of the beloved drama. In January, the network had announced that Criminal Minds would conclude after its 10-episode 15th season.

“It is the quintessential CBS hit. We are so proud to have aired it,” Amy Reisenbach, CBS’ EVP current programs, said at the time. “It speaks to everything we do best, which is air quality television. It’s been successful not only on air but online, in syndication, internationally for ABC (Studios).”

Although the final season does not yet have a premiere date, it is known that it will break away from its traditional Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET during the fall timeslot and instead be held for midseason, meaning that fans will have to wait until 2020.


The 10-episode season will bring the series’ total episode count to 325, making it among the Top 20 shows of all time by episode count, with only Gunsmoke, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy having longer runs by season among primetime TV dramas.

The first 12 seasons of Criminal Minds are streaming now on Netflix. Check back here for the Season 15 release date on CBS.

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SEAL's lawyer wants prosecutor, judge booted off war crimes case –

SAN DIEGO — A lawyer for a Navy SEAL accused of murder wants military prosecutors and a judge removed from the case for their roles in snooping on emails sent to the defense team and a journalist in an effort to find the source of news leaks.

Navy investigators and the prosecutor misled a judge and didn’t get search warrants or the necessary approval from higher-ups to investigate civilians, defense lawyer Tim Parlatore told The Associated Press on the eve of a Wednesday hearing on the matter. They also snooped on emails of military lawyers and judges in the case, he said.

“Everything I’ve suspected turned out to be true,” Parlatore said. “The prosecutor did participate in the spying on the defense … the prosecutor did lie to the court.”

Parlatore, who represents Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher at his court-martial, declined to provide details, saying he would do so Wednesday in a San Diego military courtroom.

Gallagher is charged with killing a wounded Islamic State prisoner under his care in Iraq in 2017.

Dozens of Republican congressmen have championed Gallagher’s cause, claiming he’s an innocent war hero being unfairly prosecuted. President Donald Trump got him moved from the brig to better confinement in a military hospital with access to his lawyers and family.


Revelations about the extent of the leak probe come amid efforts by defense lawyers to have prosecutors and a judge removed just a week before Gallagher is scheduled to face trial at Naval Base San Diego.

The documents — about 180 pages of investigation reports — were turned over to Parlatore in advance of the hearing on whether to put the case on hold while he finds out what prosecutors and the judge knew before allowing the targeting of defense lawyers and Navy Times editor and reporter Carl Prine.

A Navy spokesman says the government wouldn’t comment before the hearing.

Defense lawyers accuse prosecutors of misconduct by spying on communications and say that may have violated the sacred attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors said Gallagher fatally stabbed a wounded teenage Islamic State fighter and also shot two civilians in Iraq and opened fire on crowds.

Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to all counts. His lawyers said he did not murder anyone and disgruntled SEALs made the accusations because they wanted to get rid of a demanding platoon leader.

Gallagher’s supervisor, Lt. Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.

Parlatore said the leak investigation also targeted Portier’s civilian attorney, Jeremiah J. Sullivan III and attorney Brian Ferguson, who represents SEAL witnesses in the case.

The tracking software embedded in an unusual logo of an American flag with a bald eagle perched on the scales of justice beneath the signature of lead prosecutor Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak was discovered two weeks ago by defense lawyers. Two days later, the prosecutor acknowledged the scheme in a closed-door hearing, but refused to provide details.

The discovery has led to criticism that the prosecution trampled on press freedoms and violated the defendants’ rights to a fair trial.

Capt. David Wilson, chief of staff for the Navy’s Defense Service Offices, wrote a scathing memo this week saying the lack of transparency has led to mistrust by defense lawyers in whether attorney-client communications are secure on the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet. An Air Force lawyer representing Portier had his computer and phone seized for review.

“The Air Force is treating this malware as a cyber-intrusion on their network,” Wilson said.

Parlatore said the documents show intelligence specialists conducted deep background checks on the lawyers and Prine, who has broken several stories based on documents under court order not to be shared with news media. The reports he reviewed indicate they found nothing on the lawyers or Prine.

He said most of the leaks have benefited the prosecution’s narrative and the likely leakers were on the government side of the case or in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“The leakers are investigating the non-leakers and, funny, they found nothing,” Parlatore said.

Melley reported from Los Angeles.

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