August 2017

  • August 31, 2017

    by Dan Froomkinstacks on stacks

    The ultra-high-end real estate business, where Donald Trump made a lot of his money, is the easiest place for oligarchs and others to launder large amounts of illicit cash.

    And because several of the lawyers on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian connections with the Trump presidential campaign are specialists in money-laundering and other financial crimes, some observers are speculating that he may be looking into Trump's past business dealings to see if any of those connections are relevant to the matter at hand.

  • August 31, 2017

    by Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Societyeconomic opportunity

    Tropical storm Harvey has stunned us with devastating images of historic flooding. But for those who are living through the storm and its aftermath, life has forever changed. As one ACS staff member in Houston said, the only thing on her mind was going to a shelter and helping others.

    The fact is all ACS members can help the survivors of Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Supreme Court recently issued an emergency order that even attorneys from outside Texas can provide pro bono legal services to state residents. This created a valuable opportunity for ACS’s members to directly assist those who are most in need. In fact, we have been spreading the word and mobilizing our volunteers to get involved.

    Unfortunately, even after hurricane Harvey dissipates, the disaster will continue to unfold for weeks, months and even years as people rebuild their homes and lives. Although lawyers are probably the last people we think of in the midst of a devastating natural disaster, they play a critical role in helping survivors navigate the legal system on a range of issues including housing, benefits and insurance.

    More than 9,000 people are staying in the city’s main shelter, the George R. Brown Convention Center, according to the Red Cross. News clips show that the place has become a common family room with many people lying on piles of cardboard and blankets. These and many other storm images are disheartening, and many of us want to offer our support.

    ACS is grateful that we can play a part in helping survivors recover from the chaos. I urge all of our members around the country to get involved in this worthy effort and others in or outside Texas to lend a hand.
  • August 30, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Thomas Nolan, Associate Professor of Criminology, Merrimack College; 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Departmentpolice lights

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the 63rd Biennial Conference of the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on Monday, August 28 in Nashville, Tennessee. In his remarks, he observed that the police are “fighting a multi-front battle” that is characterized by “an increase in violent crime, a rise in vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, (and) threats from terrorism.” This set the stage for his depiction of law enforcement as the “thin blue line,” that is the only thing standing between “sanctity and lawlessness.” It was within this context that Sessions cited a rollback of former President Obama’s January 2015 Executive Order 13688, which established a Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group, a group charged with establishing guidelines and processes for law enforcement agencies’ acquisition of surplus military equipment from the federal government. In an executive order to be signed later in the day, the police would once again have unfettered access to surplus military equipment and be free to use federal funds to purchase military-grade weapons, ammunition, vehicles, aircraft, and other military equipment.

  • August 30, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Winston Paes, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; former Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Section at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New YorkMoney

    For better or worse, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is perceived, and has acted, as a global police force whose jurisdiction extends far beyond the shores of the United States. While the DOJ’s enforcement of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) garners much fanfare, the money laundering statutes, specifically, Sections 1956 and 1957 of Title 18 of the United States Code, have resulted in a greater number of prosecutions and expanded the reach of U.S. law enforcement for offenses that barely touch or affect the United States.

  • August 25, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Daniel T. Kobil, Professor, Capital University Law School

    If Donald Trump issues a pardon to Joseph Arpaio he will likely be acting within his enumerated powers as president, but doing so in a manner that could undermine our legal system and the Constitution. 

    Arpaio is the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., who was found guilty in July of criminal contempt for defying a federal court’s order barring the illegal profiling of immigrants and Latinos by his officers. Though he faces potential imprisonment of up to six months, he has not yet been sentenced, nor applied for clemency through the Justice Department process in effect since the Reagan administration that requires applicants to wait five years after completing their sentence and undergo a thorough investigation before they can be pardoned. Nevertheless, Trump has signaled that he plans to pardon Arpaio preemptively because he approves of Arpaio’s harsh treatment of immigrants.