Wow! So much news recently and especially today (Dec. 18) that I don’t know what to write up first. To help avoid brain paralysis from having too much to choose from, let me do this format today.
- In a surprising development, former national security adviser Michael Flynn didn’t get any jail time at his sentencing hearing this morning. But that’s only because he didn’t get sentenced at all. Following some rather scary (to Flynn) comments by Judge Emmet Sullivan regarding what was about to happen, Flynn took the judge’s hint that he might want to postpone sentencing until he was sure he had entirely finished cooperating with federal prosecutors. After a break to think that over, Flynn decided he might, in fact, have some more cooperatin’ he could do.
- New York Times: “At one point [Judge Sullivan] even asked prosecutors if Mr. Flynn might have committed treason. (The prosecutor in the case, Brandon L. Van Grack, said no.)” The prosecutor was right about that. See “What is Treason?” Lowering the Bar (July 29, 2016).
- Appellate lawyer Raffi Melkonian, on Twitter: “I’ve got an informal list of things it’s bad to hear a judge say to you …, but definitely, ‘Maybe you committed treason?’ is very very high on the list.” He was definitely right about that.
- Donald J. Trump is dissolving—oh, sorry, the Donald J. Trump Foundation is dissolving. According to New York’s attorney general, this is to partly resolve charges that it was not so much a charity as a thing the Trump clan used illegally for its own benefit. But according to Donald Trump, he was gonna dissolve it anyway. I guess we’ll never know who’s telling the truth.
- Washington Post: “The largest donation in the charity’s history — a $264,231 gift to the Central Park Conservancy in 1989 — appeared to benefit Trump’s business: It paid to restore a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel. The smallest, a $7 foundation gift to the Boy Scouts that same year, appeared to benefit Trump’s family. It matched the amount required to enroll a boy in the Scouts the year that his son Donald Trump Jr. was 11.” The Post also found that the board of the alleged charity hasn’t had a meeting in 19 years.
- Speaking of bad arguments, all the sources agree that this woman’s defense against drunk-driving charges included the argument that “several parked cars struck her, instead of the other way around,” but none of them provide any further details. The jury did not buy the argument, whatever it was.
- In Missouri, a judge sentenced a poacher convicted of illegally killing hundreds of deer, and taking only their heads, to watch Bambi once a month while he’s in prison. In total, four members of the same family were convicted of poaching, though only one was sentenced to repeated Bambi exposure.
- According to Variety, at least four celebrities have recently accused video-game companies of stealing their dance moves for use by in-game characters, and three of them have sued. I would, at one point, have recognized two of the alleged celebrities’ characters but have never known any of their names (until now). I am not ashamed by this.
- Finally (for today), police in Taipei have been accused of wasting taxpayer money for spending hundreds of dollars on a forensic investigation, including multiple DNA tests, in order to find out which of a woman’s roommates drank her bottle of yogurt. According to the report, the woman became furious after finding the bottle mysteriously empty, and when none of her roommates would confess, she went to the police. They brought the roommates in for questioning, and when no one cracked, police reportedly spent $585 on six DNA tests in an effort to find the culprit. If you speak Chinese, the video you can find at the link may reveal whether they actually found the thief, or it may not.