Criminal Minds Star Joe Mantegna Bids an Emotional Farewell to Long-Running Show – E! NEWS

It’s the end of an era for Joe Mantegna and the Criminal Minds cast and crew. The long-running CBS drama will end during the 2019-2020 season after 15 years on the air. Series star Mantegna, who joined the show in season three, posted a farewell letter on his Twitter.

“As I wrap up my last day filming Criminal Minds, I can’t help but reflect in awe at what a truly wonderful experience it has been. As you know I came to a show already in production. I was welcomed by the cast and crew instantly, making me feel part of the team on day one. The next 12 years would be a wild and wonderful ride. Yes, I will miss playing David Rossi, and I’ll miss the wonderful writing that brought him to life, but mostly I will miss seeing my fellow cast mates and our fantastic crew everyday [sic],” he wrote.

“It may sound cliché to say we’re like family, but it’s so very true. In 15 seasons we’ve all grown a little bit older, hopefully a little wiser too. We laughed together, we cried together, and like a family we gained and lost members along the way. Some got married, some got divorced, some had children, some had more than one! Some of our family went on to other shows and jobs, and sadly, some we lost too soon to the heavens,” he continued.

Mantegna wrote he was satisfied with what they accomplished on the series and “proud of the work.”

“An actor’s life is always changing and I’m excited for what’s next and hope that when I find that thing, you’ll come along for that ride too,” he said. “In the end, we owe it all to you, the fans. For being the most loyal, tolerant, and passionate fans we could have ever asked for. Thanks for being there.”

Criminal Minds star Paget Brewster retweeted his note and added, “We all need to thank @JoeMantegna for becoming the captain of our Criminal Minds ship when we were lost at sea and scared. Joe, you are my mentor, my inspiration and my friend. Thank you.”

The cast has been sharing quite a bit behind-the-scenes photos and memories while they shot the last episodes. Matthew Gray Gubler shared the above photo, well, photo series, to celebrate shooting the last episode.

Brewster also shared the tweet and said, “We will miss the last 14 years for the next 41 years…”

Criminal Minds will air its 15th and final season on CBS.

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All the President's Lawyers: A Chart of Misconduct and Possible Crimes Revealed by Mueller Report – Just Security

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report includes many references to actions of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys in Volume 2, which covers obstruction of justice. As a foremost expert on legal ethics and professional responsibility Stephen Gillers explained, the report indicates that these lawyers were potentially involved in ethical misconduct or in a criminal obstruction of justice.

With some notable exceptions, the report does not provide the names of individual lawyers. The report also frequently refers to “counsel,” which is ambiguous because it could be plural (involving multiple lawyers) or singular. That said, the report does effectively identify two lawyers in important activities – Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow – and the public record allows one to match which lawyers were serving Trump during the relevant times.

The following Chart provides a comprehensive account of the Mueller Report’s references to potential wrongdoing by President Trump’s personal lawyers.

Chart of Mueller Report’s References to Potential Wrongdoing by President Trump’s Personal Lawyers Just Sec… by Just Security on Scribd

Images: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons


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Meet the shadowy security firm from Israel whose technology is believed to be at the heart of the massive WhatsApp hack (FB)

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop and mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Whatsapp logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

A security flaw in the massively popular WhatsApp messaging platform exposes its 1.5 billion-plus users to one of the world’s most malicious spyware programs, “Pegasus.”

The spy software enables remote access to your phone’s most private information — from text messages to call logs to location data.

Pegasus first surfaced in 2016 when it was reportedly used to spy on a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. In the years since, it’s been linked to the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the Mexican government’s capture of alleged drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The company that makes Pegasus, the NSO Group, is notoriously secretive.

The Israeli firm sells sophisticated hacking tools to governments, militaries, and intelligence agencies — and it tries to keep such a low profile it even changes its name on a regular basis. 

Here’s everything we know about the secretive firm behind one of the world’s most effective spyware applications:

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp users are being urged to update the app immediately after it was hacked — here’s how to get protected

NSO Group was founded in late 2009 by serial entrepreneurs with ties to the Israeli government.

Headquartered in Herzelia, Israel, NSO Group was founded in Dec. 2009 by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, according to both cofounders’ LinkedIn profiles, which show they are both serial entrepreneurs who had previously started a number of other companies in Israel. A third founder, Niv Carmi, left the company shortly after its inception and left Lavie and Hulio as majority shareholders.

The San Francisco-based private equity firm Francisco Partners acquired a majority stake in NSO for $120 million in 2014, though its operations remained in Israel. 

Hulio says on his LinkedIn profile he was a company commander with the Israel Defense Forces, while Lavie says he was an employee of the Israeli government.

At least three of its current employees claim to have worked in Unit 8200, Israel’s version of the US National Security Agency. Other NSO Group employees came from Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency.

The firm separated from Francisco Partners in early 2019; NSO Group is now owned and run by its original founders and management, in partnership with the European private equity firm Novalpina Capital.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” in March, cofounder and CEO Shalev Hulio said NSO Group’s technology has saved “ten of thousands of people.”

“We are selling Pegasus in order to prevent crime and terror,” NSO Group CEO and cofounder Shalev Hulio told “60 Minutes” in an interview this past March.

“Intelligence agencies came to us and say, ‘We do have a problem. With the new smartphones– we cannot longer [sic] get valuable intelligence,'” he said.

A European security official confirmed to “60 Minutes” that NSO Group software has been used to thwart terrorist attacks in Europe.

In the same “60 Minutes” piece, a human rights watchdog group at the University of Toronto named Citizen Lab, led by Ron Deibert, warned of the potential misuse of those same tools by governments. “This technology is being used by autocratic dictators who can mount global cyber espionage operations simply by purchasing the technology,” Diebert said.

It’s hard to figure out what the company actually does — but its website offers some clues.

The company describes what it does on its website as such:

“We develop technology that enables government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent and investigate terrorism and crime. We provide the tools that support official authorities to lawfully address the most dangerous issues in today’s world. Governments use our products to prevent terrorism, break up criminal operations, find missing persons, and assist search and rescue teams.”

NSO currently employs more than 230 people, according to its numbers on LinkedIn. That’s more than double the head count it had two years ago.

The company’s specialty is “the field of cyber warfare.”

A brochure from the company, uploaded online by Privacy International, gives more insight into what it really does: Offer mobile hacking solutions for a variety of phones exclusively for the use of governments, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies.

NSO Group says it is “a leader in the field of cyber warfare” that utilizes its proprietary monitoring tool called “Pegasus,” which can monitor and extract all data from a target “via untraceable commands” which allow “remote and stealth.”

Its software is purchased by governments all over the world for millions of dollars.

Its clients have reportedly included Panama and Mexico, though a person familiar with the company told the Wall Street Journal it does business all over the world. The Mexican government reportedly employed NSO Group technology to capture accused Mexican drug trafficker Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

NSO received $8 million from Panama’s government for its Pegasus spy software, according to a local press account. And with 2016’s research from Citizen Lab documenting an attack on Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist living in the United Arab Emirates, it’s likely that government has purchased the software as well.

The company’s annual earnings were approximately $75 million in 2015, according to Reuters.

NSO’s ‘Pegasus’ spy tool transforms a variety of phones into mobile listening stations.

NSO showed off demonstrations of its mobile phone hacks on a BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android phones in 2013, according to leaked emails from a breach of Hacking Team, a competitor of the company based in Italy.

“Your smartphone today is the new walkie-talkie,” NSO cofounder Omri Lavie told the Financial Times that year. “Most of your typical solutions for interception are inadequate, so a new tool had to be built.”

Pegasus can infect a targeted phone in two ways, both of which are through SMS text messaging. Its “zero-click” vector allows an attacker to send a special SMS message to a target which causes the phone to automatically load a malicious link, while its “one-click” vector requires a user to click a link to infect their device, which happens in the background without a user ever knowing.

Once infected, spies can actively record with the phone’s microphone or video camera, grab personal data like calendars, contacts, and passwords, or download all the data on the device, to include emails, photos, and browsing history. 

“We’re a complete ghost,” Lavie told Defense News in 2013. “We’re totally transparent to the target, and we leave no traces.”

There’s speculation that Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked using tools very similar to those created by NSO.

The Amazon CEO’s phone was famously hacked earlier this year, exposing intimate texts and pictures he exchanged with Lauren Sanchez, the woman with whom he was having an affair.

In a March op-ed in the Daily Beast, Bezos’ security consultant said his team concluded that Saudi Arabia “had access to Bezos’ phone and gained private information.”  He stopped short of asserting how Saudi Arabia might have accessed Bezos’ phone, but he linked out to a New York Times article on “internet mercenaries” including NSO Group, DarkMatter, and Black Cube. 

The WhatsApp exploit reportedly enabled NSO Group’s Pegasus software to be installed on iPhone and Android smartphones through a WhatsApp phone call.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that, through a WhatsApp exploit, malicious actors could install NSO Group’s Pegasus software simply by calling their target within WhatsApp.

The phone call didn’t need to be picked up, and a call log could even be remotely erased after the fact. If successful, the target’s phone data could be accessed — everything from call logs to location data.

The NSO Group denied its involvement in the WhatsApp exploit, though that doesn’t preclude the possibility that someone else used NSO’s products to exploit the WhatsApp security hole.

A representative for WhatsApp told the FT that the attack “has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems.”

A separate statement from a WhatsApp representative sent to Business Insider encouraged WhatsApp users to update to the latest version of the app, which patches out the security flaw:

“WhatsApp encourages people to upgrade to the latest version of our app, as well as keep their mobile operating system up to date, to protect against potential targeted exploits designed to compromise information stored on mobile devices. We are constantly working alongside industry partners to provide the latest security enhancements to help protect our users.”

Paul Szoldra contributed to a previous version of this report.

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Criminal Minds: Why Each Of The Major Cast Members Left – Cinema Blend

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Will Criminal Minds the final season cast include Thomas Gibson's Hotch?

CBS’ Criminal Minds has had an incredible run. Over 300 episodes have aired since it debuted in 2005 and it has even been given a couple of spinoffs, though neither were particularly popular or lasted super long. The show will wrap up its 15th and final season next TV season, but while we wait, let’s talk about how the Criminal Minds cast has gone through a lot of changes over the years.

As would be expected for a long-running drama, over the show’s run a lot of the Criminal Minds cast members have come and gone and come again, some under some pretty sketchy circumstances. So which characters have left Criminal Minds (and which have returned) and why did they do it? Let’s take a look.

Mandy Patinkin as Jason Gideon on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Mandy Patinkin Left Criminal Minds

Mandy Patinkin was the original star of the show. Patinkin played Senior Supervisory Special Agent Jason Gideon, the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Mandy Patinkin left show after two seasons after “creative differences.” It would be years before he finally explained his departure. In an interview, Patinkin explained that he didn’t feel comfortable with the a lot of the subject matter covered on the show and decided it wasn’t something he wanted to be a part of.

His character Jason Gideon’s departure was equally perplexing, as Mandy Patinkin seemed to have caught the producers by surprise. Ultimately, Gideon was written out quickly, resigning after a particularly difficult case. Eight seasons later, the character was killed (off screen) by a serial killer being pursued by the BAU team.

Shemar Moore as Derek Morgan Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Shemar Moore Left Criminal Minds

Shemar Moore’s character Derek Morgan is among the most popular characters over the show’s run. A star for over 10 seasons on the show, he’s returned to Criminal Minds in a guest-starring capacity in the time since.  However, when he left for good, according to what he said at the time, it was to spend more time with his wife and baby, though it was announced soon after that he would be starring in a new CBS show, S.W.A.T.

Shemar Moore’s sendoff was more emotional than many of the other actors, as he was one of the few who left the show on very good terms with both the show’s producers and CBS. On the procedural, Derek Morgan left the BAU for the same reason Moore left the show, to care for his family.

Thomas Gibson as Aaron Hotchner on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Thomas Gibson Left Criminal Minds

Thomas Gibson’s exit from Criminal Minds was by far the most controversial. Gibson, who played Unit Chief Senior Special Agent Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, was fired from the show after an on-set fight with a producer that allegedly got physical during the filming of Season 12 in 2016. The show was only two episodes into the season when the confrontation occurred and Gibson was fired the day after the reported fight.

Gibson’s character was written out quickly, as Hotch was placed in Witness Protection to protect his son from a serial killer. There has been talk about the character returning for a possible guest spot, but that seems unlikely given the acrimonious departure.

AJ Cook as J.J. on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why A.J. Cook Left Criminal Minds

A.J. Cook is one of the original stars of Criminal Minds cast, with her character JJ going all the way back to the beginning. However, her run as a cast member has not been without its ups and downs. After Season 5, it was announced that Cook did not have her contract renewed in what was reported to be a cost-cutting move by the show’s producer. She did appear in a handful of episodes in Season 6 to wrap up their storylines and she was gone. Just not for long.

The passionate fans of the show were outraged and eventually the show relented and brought her back before the start of Season 7. A.J. Cook has been a cast member on Criminal Minds ever since.

Paget Brewster as Emily Prentiss on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Paget Brewster Left Criminal Minds

Like A.J. Cook, Paget Brewster’s run on the show has been filled with ups and downs. Brewster’s character Emily Prentiss first appeared in the middle of Season 2 after Elle Greenaway, played by Lola Glaudini, left the BAU when Glaudini left the show.

Brewster would go on to star as a full-time Criminal Minds cast member through part of Season 7, when she left the show to pursue other opportunities. She continued to appear as a guest star a few times after that though. Then, at the end of Season 11, she returned for Shemar Moore’s final episode, returning for good for Season 12. Paget Brewster has been back as a regular on the series ever since and currently is the Unit Chief of the BAU.

Jeanne Tripplehorn as Dr. Alex Blake on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Jeanne Tripplehorn Left Criminal Minds

Jeanne Tripplehorn burst onto the Hollywood scene in the early nineties when she starred in a number of box office hits (and one infamous bomb). She played Michael Douglas’ wife in Basic Instinct, then went on to play Tom Cruise’s wife in The Firm. The only flick to mess that run up was to star as Kevin Costner’s love interest of sorts in the notorious Waterworld.

She joined the cast of Criminal Minds in Season 8 as Dr. Alex Blake. Her run with the show was fairly short, leaving after just two seasons when contract negotiations fell apart. Her character’s exit came after she decided working in BAU reminded her too much of her deceased son and she left.

Jennifer Love Hewitt as Kate Callahan on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Jennifer Love Hewitt Left Criminal Minds

It’s easy to forget that Jennifer Love Hewitt starred on Criminal Minds for two seasons as Kate Callahan. Her character’s arc ended dramatically when a pregnant Callahan faced every mother’s nightmare. Her niece, whom she had adopted after the death of her sister and brother-in-law in the September 11th attacks, was kidnapped and then rescued. Kate Callahan decided she needed to take some time away to care for with adopted daughter and soon-to-be-born baby.

Like her character, Jennifer Love Hewitt left the show at the same time for maternity reasons. Like the character, Hewitt was pregnant with her second child and it was announced before Season 11 that she would be leaving the show to care for her growing family.

Rachel Nichols as Ashley Seaver on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Rachel Nichols Left Criminal Minds

Rachel Nichols joined the show first as a guest star in a three-episode arc that eventually morphed into her getting signed on as a full cast member. She joined as Ashley Seaver, an up-and-coming FBI trainee, but that gig was controversial at first, with fans angry that she was seemingly replacing the two popular characters played by A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster. Ultimately, she didn’t last very long. She was let go after just one season when Cook and Brewster returned.

Damon Gupton as Stephen Walker on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Damon Gupton Left Criminal Minds

Blink and you might have missed Damon Gupton’s very brief run on the show during Season 12 as Special Agent Stephen Walker. Gupton departed the show as fast as he joined when the network decided not to renew his contract in the wake of a number of cast maneuvers before Season 13.

Lola Glaudini as Elle Greenaway on Criminal Minds on CBS

Why Lola Glaudini Left Criminal Minds

VERY early on, Lola Glaudini starred as Elle Greenaway in the first season of Criminal Minds. This was not Glaudini’s first time playing an FBI agent, as she also starred on The Sopranos as Deborah Ciccerone-Waldrup, a Federal Agent going after Tony Soprano.

Elle Greenaway had a violent end to her run with the BAU, both being shot and shooting suspects in her final episode. Lola Glaudini’s personal reason for leaving the Criminal Minds cast was not nearly as dramatic. She reportedly wasn’t happy living in LA where the show is shot and wanted to return to her home on the East Coast.

So there it is. The topsy-turvy world that is the Criminal Minds cast. It’s been a wild ride for the fans of the show and for the actors that have helped make the show the huge success it is. Do you think everyone in the cast will make it all the way until the end a year from now?

Will all the current cast members make it to the end?

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Officer in 'I can't breathe' death is scapegoat, lawyer says – SF Gate

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly five years after Eric Garner’s pleas of “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry against police brutality, a disciplinary trial began Monday for the New York City police officer accused of hastening his death with a banned chokehold.

The start of Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s internal trial, which could lead to his firing, sparked protests in the streets and evoked emotional reactions from Garner’s family in the hearing room as video of the July 2014 confrontation was played.

The police watchdog agency bringing the case featured the video prominently at the start of the two-week trial, using the cell phone footage of Garner being grabbed and pulled to the ground to shield against alternate explanations and concerns about the credibility of the man who recorded it.

“His last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ tell you who caused his death,” Jonathan Fogel, a lawyer for the watchdog Civilian Complaint Review Board, said in an opening statement.

Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, countered that the video shows the officer using an approved technique known as a “seat-belt hold” to restrain Garner and that he is being made to be a scapegoat in a politically charged atmosphere.

Ramsey Orta, a friend of Garner’s who shot the video of the confrontation, conceded during cross-examination that Pantaleo’s arm wasn’t around Garner’s neck when he uttered, “I can’t breathe.”

“We know he wasn’t choked out because he is speaking,” London said.

The lawyer called it a common misconception that the phrase was uttered when the officer’s hands or arms were around Garner’s neck. Garner made the plea while lying on the sidewalk as officers were trying to handcuff him, London said.

London said Pantaleo had pulled the much larger Garner to the ground because he feared they would crash through a plate-glass window while tussling against a Staten Island storefront. Garner, who was 43, weighed 350 pounds (159 kilograms) and suffered from asthma since childhood.

“Mr. Garner died from being morbidly obese,” London said in his opening statement, describing him as a “ticking timebomb.”

The police department’s disciplinary process plays out like a trial in front of an administrative judge, but the purpose is to determine whether Pantaleo violated department rules. The final decision on any punishment lies with the police commissioner, with penalties ranging from the loss of vacation days to firing.

Pantaleo, 33, has been on desk duty since Garner’s death. He denies wrongdoing and does not face criminal charges.

Two police officials involved in an internal affairs investigation into Garner’s death testified that they found Pantaleo likely violated department rules and that a request for disciplinary charges was made in January 2015.

The police department put the disciplinary matter on hold while federal prosecutors weighed a possible civil rights case against Pantaleo. The department decided to move forward with the discipline case last year as the federal investigation appeared to have stalled.

Garner’s sister, Ellisha Garner, left the courtroom wailing as Orta’s video played. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, also walked out. She had tears streaming down her face as the Rev. Al Sharpton escorted her to the hallway.

Back in the courtroom later, Ellisha looked away and pressed her fingers into her ears to block the sound as the video was played again.

Pantaleo, wearing a gray suit, sat quietly throughout the proceeding.

“There are a lot of mixed emotions,” Ellisha Garner said afterward.

About 100 people marched from City Hall to police headquarters in lower Manhattan as the trial began. Another protest stopped morning rush hour traffic on Manhattan’s FDR Drive. A smaller group chanting “Fire Pantaleo” tried to drown out Pat Lynch, the president of Pantaleo’s union, the Police Benevolent Association, as he spoke to reporters in the rain outside.

Orta, 27, testified via video from a state prison where he’s serving a four-year sentence for gun and drug possession.

He said that he and Garner were standing on the sidewalk chatting about football and making plans to go to Buffalo Wild Wings when two men started fighting nearby. Garner helped calm the fracas, Orta said.

Pantaleo and another plainclothes officer showed up moments later, but they weren’t concerned about the fight, Orta said. They focused on Garner, accusing him of selling untaxed loose cigarettes — something he’d been picked up for in the past.

Garner, tired of what he considered constant harassment, shouted at the officers: “It stops today. I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone.”

London tried poking holes in Orta’s credibility by pointing to his record and what Orta said was $10,000 to $15,000 he’s earned in royalties on the video.

Orta helped London by saying he didn’t actually commit some of the crimes he’s locked up for. London asked if that meant he lied to the judge when he pleaded guilty.

Later, under questioning by review board lawyer Suzanne O’Hare, Orta said he was telling the truth about what happened to Garner.

“It’s fair to say your cell phone video is not lying under oath,” O’Hare added.


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