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Indictments

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Prosecutors are signaling that they want to pursue the same charges against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and eight others in the Flint crisis over lead-contaminated water. The move comes just a few days after the state Supreme Court said indictments must be dismissed. The attorney general’s office responded by asking two Flint-area judges who have been overseeing the cases to simply turn the indictments into common criminal complaints and let the charges proceed. Nine people were charged with crimes in 2021, including Snyder. The state Supreme Court said a one-judge grand jury had no power under Michigan law to return indictments.

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Once prominent and soon-to-be disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been indicted again. This time prosecutors say his crimes extended to an eight-year money laundering and painkiller ring with a friend and former client charged with trying to help him commit suicide. Prosecutors say Murdaugh wrote 437 checks worth $2.4 million that Curtis “Eddie” Smith cashed over eight years, keeping some of the money for himself and giving some to a distribution network for the painkiller oxycodone. Still unsolved are the shooting deaths of Murdaugh's wife and younger son at their home more than a year ago. In all, Murdaugh has been indicted 16 times and faces 81 charges he stole $8.4 million from his law firm and clients.

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An associate of Rudy Giuliani who was a figure in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation was sentenced Wednesday to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes. Lev Parnas had sought leniency on the grounds that he'd helped the Congressional probe of Trump and his efforts to get the leaders of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden's son. Prosecutors said the Soviet-born businessman's aid was in response to a subpoena and deserved little credit. They had asked for a sentence of more than 6 years. Parnas was convicted of using the riches of a wealthy Russian to make illegal donations to politicians who might aid the launch of a legal recreational-marijuana business.

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Colorado Republicans have rejected an indicted county clerk as their nominee for secretary of state, choosing a former local official who ran on a platform of taking politics out of running elections. In spurning Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, Republican primary voters appeared to reject the conspiracy theories and false claims that have spread among conservatives since the November 2020 presidential election. Over the last year, Peters has appeared regularly with prominent allies of former President Donald Trump, who claims without evidence that the election was stolen from him.

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New capital murder indictments have been returned against a convicted murderer from the Dallas area whom authorities now allege is responsible for 22 deaths. A Collin County grand jury indicted Billy Chemirmir on Tuesday on single capital murder counts in each of the 2017 deaths of four women. The 50-year-old has already been convicted in Dallas County of capital murder in the 2018 death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. Since prosecutors weren't seeking the death penalty, Chemirmir was automatically sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

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The Michigan Supreme Court has thrown out charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and others in the Flint water scandal. The court says a judge sitting as a one-person grand jury had no power to issue indictments. It’s an extraordinary defeat for Attorney General Dana Nessel. She took office in 2019, got rid of a special prosecutor and put together a new team to investigate how Flint's water system was contaminated with lead in 2014 and 2015. Snyder was charged with misdemeanors. His lawyers say the case was fueled by politics. The Supreme Court decision also benefits former health chief Nick Lyon and seven others. Lyon was charged with involuntary manslaughter tied to deaths from Legionnaires' disease. An outbreak was blamed on bad water.

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The chief investigator in the corruption case against Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness tried under cross-examination to deflect responsibility for false statements made in a search warrant affidavit and reiterated in an indictment. Franklin Robinson told a judge in a search warrant affidavit last year that payments to a consultant hired by McGuiness were split in August 2020, and again in September 2020, to keep them under $5,000. That's the threshold at which payments by state agencies require approval from the Division of Accounting.  The affidavit contained those statements even though Robinson and prosecutors had seen a Division of Accounting spreadsheet months earlier indicating that the contractor received only one payment each month, both above $5,000.

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A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has indicted an Indianapolis member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group with conspiracy and other charges for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Prosecutors say the indictment unsealed Friday charges 39-year-old Michael Greene with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and tampering with documents or proceedings. Greene was arrested in Indiana on Thursday. He was expected to make his initial court appearance later Friday.

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An associate of Rudy Giuliani who was convicted of campaign finance crimes at trial and later pleaded guilty to a separate fraud charge is asking to be spared from prison at his sentencing next week. Lawyers for Lev Parnas made the request to a Manhattan federal court judge in papers that were filed publicly Wednesday. Prosecutors filed their own sentencing submission, asking a judge to order a prison sentence of at least 6 1/2 years. They said Parnas had for years lied and swindled for his own benefit. Parnas was convicted last year at a Manhattan trial.

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Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is facing 21 federal charges related to a scheme to seek donations and funnel a portion of them back to him through third parties. The U.S. attorney’s office announced the indictment Wednesday. Gillum and co-defendant Janet Lettman-Hicks face 19 counts of wire fraud. Gillum is also charged with making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It’s the latest trouble for Gillum, who narrowly lost to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in a race that required a recount. Gillum was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Florida governor.

Two Mississippi businessmen are facing federal charges connected to the fraudulent receipt of more than $2 million in pandemic relief money. Prosecutors say Friday that a grand jury issued indictments recently against 49-year-old Jabari Ogbanna Edwards and 37-year-old Antwann Richardson. The two Columbus residents are charged with money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Edwards also is charged with making a false statement. Federal court records on Friday did not list any attorneys for Edwards or Richardson. In April 2020, Gov. Tate Reeves appointed Edwards as one of several members of Restart Mississippi, a commission on economic recovery from the pandemic.

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A former North Texas police officer has been indicted on a murder count in the fatal shooting of a suspect after a slow-speed vehicle chase. The Tarrant County grand jury indicted former Arlington police officer Robert Phillips in the Oct. 20 fatal shooting of Jesse Fischer of Addison. Phillips was fired two days after the shooting for violating Arlington Police Department policy. In firing Phillips, Police Chief Al Jones said Phillips violated policy limiting when officers may put themselves in the path of a moving vehicle and when they may shoot at a moving vehicle. It was unclear from jail records if Phillips had an attorney

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A federal grand jury has indicted a California man who was found with a gun, knife and pepper spray near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after telling police he was planning to kill the justice. The single-count indictment against Nicholas John Roske was announced Wednesday. It charges the 26-year-old from Simi Valley with attempting to murder a Justice of the United States. Prosecutors say Roske traveled to the justice’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with the intent of killing Kavanaugh. Authorities say he pulled up near the home in a taxi shortly after 1 a.m. on June 8 carrying a suitcase with a gun and ammunition, along with a tactical chest rig with pepper spray, a knife and burglary tools.

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Federal authorities have indicted 26 people and seized nearly 500,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-year investigation into an international drug smuggling operation. The U.S. attorney's office says many of those indicted are from San Diego and surrounding areas. Prosecutors say the drug trafficking operation, based in Sinaloa, Mexico, shipped counterfeit pharmaceutical pills laced with fentanyl, heroin and other drugs into the U.S.

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A defense attorney for Delaware’s state auditor says criminal corruption charges against her have no basis in fact and are based on a biased investigation that included false statements used to obtain a search warrant and a grand jury indictment. Attorney Steve Wood used his opening statement in the trial of Kathy McGuiness on Tuesday to refute allegations that McGuiness is guilty.  McGuiness, a Democrat elected in 2018 , is responsible for rooting out government fraud, waste and abuse. She faces felony counts of theft and witness intimidation, and misdemeanor charges of official misconduct, conflict of interest and noncompliance with procurement laws.  Prosecutor Mark Denney told jurors she's guilty of the offense charged and no one is above the law.

A South Texas mayor has been arrested after a federal indictment accused him of committing bribery and fraud. Peñitas Mayor Rodrigo Lopez was arrested Monday as he re-entered the country at the Hidalgo Port of Entry. The two-count indictment accuses Lopez of embezzling from the La Joya Independent School District. From March through August 2018, the district made purchases totaling about $70,000 from a business Lopez runs, the indictment alleges. Lopez also is accused of offering a bribe to a district employee concerning those purchases. If convicted, Lopez faces up to 10 years in prison per count.

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Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot say they’ve uncovered enough evidence for the Justice Department to consider an unprecedented criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump for seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Meantime, the committee announced that Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Bill Stepien, is among the witnesses scheduled to testify at a hearing Monday that focuses on Trump’s effort to spread his lies about a stolen election. Rep. Adam Schiff says the Justice Department should be investigating “any credible allegation of criminal activity” by Trump. Trump has denied all wrongdoing.

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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has appointed an official to monitor this month’s primary election in a county where the clerk made copies of voting system hard drives. Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder turned over his copies of the hard drives to Griswold’s office after being ordered to by a judge but an election order issued Thursday states that the investigation into what happens continues and the “risk to election security protocols has not been resolved." Griswold also named advisers to help in the primary election in Mesa County, where Clerk Tina Peters is being prosecuted for allegedly providing unauthorized access to voting equipment.

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St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has resigned his post five days after federal charges were announced against him and two others for allegedly accepting bribes and misusing their offices for personal gain. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Reed announced his resignation Tuesday, saying in a statement that he could not serve constituents and juggle “my current legal challenges.” Board vice president Joe Vollmer says he will assume the role acting board president. Last week, federal prosecutors revealed that Reed and former aldermen Jeffrey Boyd and John Collins-Muhammad were indicted on May 25. All three have pleaded not guilty.

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The former top leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group and other members have been charged with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the former Proud Boys chairman, and four others linked to the group are charged in the latest indictment against them. All five were previously charged with different conspiracy counts. They are scheduled to stand trial in August in Washington, D.C.’s federal court. An attorney for Tarrio says his client “is going to have his day in court.”

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Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro has been indicted on charges that he refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. But the Justice Department spared two other advisers, including the ex-president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, from criminal prosecution.The department’s decision to not prosecute Meadows and Dan Scavino, another adviser to former President Donald Trump, was revealed in a letter sent Friday by a federal prosecutor to a lawyer for the House of Representatives. The move was reported hours after the indictment of Navarro and a subsequent, fiery court appearance in which he vowed to contest the contempt of Congress charges.

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