Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s (D) “political future” will be “in the hands of a jury” 11/9, “when her trial on theft charges begins.” Dixon is “accused of asking wealthy developer pals to donate gift cards worth thousands of dollars, saying they would be given to poor families — then using them” for “personal shopping sprees” and “knickknacks at Target.”
Dixon “faces a separate trial later on perjury charges stemming from accusations that she didn’t report gifts” from her ex-boyfriend, “a real estate developer who received tax breaks from the city.” Dixon has said she won’t resign, but “a plea deal is not an option,” and “under state law, she can’t remain in office if convicted of any felony or misdemeanor related to her official duties” (Nuckols, AP, 11/7).
Jury selection begins 11/9, and it is “perhaps” the most important part of the trial, in which “race and politics will play critical roles, outside observers say.” Dixon’s defense team “will want jurors who like their mayor and the work she has done,” and “would be wise to select jurors from her political base of older black women,” while the “white Republican” prosecutor is “apt to favor those who will dispassionately review the evidence” (Bykowicz, Baltimore Sun, 11/9).
Pictures May Be Worth More Problems
Ex-KY state Rep./‘03 KY GOV candidate Steve Nunn (R), “facing a murder charge in the shooting” death of his ex-fiancee, “has been indicted” on “six counts of wanton endangerment” for allegedly firing “a gun near six police officers” before his arrest (Estep, Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/7).
Police are also “tracking” Nunn’s “digital footprints,” specifically “looking to see whether Nunn kept” a “naked” photo of his ex-fiancee “on his cell phone, as witnesses have alleged,” in possible violation of “a domestic violence order against him.” According to another search warrant, police “are also checking for child pornography on Nunn’s computers” (Honeycutt-Spears/Alessi, Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/8).
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."