Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2018

Defense in Kansas bomb case wants Trump voters in jury pool

January 4, 2018


— Attorneys for three men accused of plotting to bomb a mosque and apartment complex housing Somali refugees urged a federal judge on Wednesday to include prospective jurors from rural western Kansas because they are more likely to have voted for President Donald Trump.

But the government countered that granting the request would as a matter of policy "wreak havoc," saying the defense is seeking to pick a jury pool based on ideology while "opening a dangerous door" to similar requests in other cases.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren took the matter under consideration after a hearing in U.S. District Court in Kansas, saying he would try to rule quickly. The trial begins March 19 in Wichita.

Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy against civil rights for allegedly planning to detonate truck bombs in the meatpacking town of Garden City the day after the November 2016 election. Wright also faces a charge of lying to the FBI.

The three men, who were indicted in October 2016, have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have argued the men formed a splinter group of the militia Kansas Security Force that came to be known as "the Crusaders." Wright is quoted in a wiretap transcript as saying he hoped the attack on the Somalis would "wake people up" and inspire others to take similar action against Muslims.

The defense contends the case will require jurors to weigh whether the alleged conduct constitutes a crime or whether it is constitutionally protected speech and assembly and the right to bear arms.

Defense attorneys had argued that court plans to only summon citizens in the more urban counties closest to the federal courthouse in Wichita is a discriminatory practice that excludes rural and conservative jurors. But the judge during the hearing noted several counties surrounding the federal courthouse in Wichita already used to draw potential jurors are rural counties.

Kansas voted overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2016 election, and Melgren mused during the hearing that he does not see a material difference between picking a jury pool from a group that voted two-thirds for Trump as compared to a group that voted three-fourths for Trump. During the campaign Trump called for a crackdown on immigration and a ban on Muslims entering the country.

But attorney Kari Schmidt, who represents Wright in the case, told the judge there is a difference in the belief systems between people in rural southwest Kansas where the crimes allegedly occurred and people in the other rural counties near Wichita that the judge cited in making his comparison.

"I don't think I can say it's legally recognizable, but factually recognizable," she said.

The government cited legal cases finding that groups of prospective jurors defined by geographical location are not "distinctive" groups for purposes of a constitutional attack on a prospective jury pool. By contrast, women and racial groups are considered distinctive groups for such purposes. Prosecutors contended the defense request would set a "dangerous precedent."

"At its core, it is seeking to stack the deck," Justice Department attorney Risa Berkower said.


Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So they think that Trump supporters will let them go? Well, they are probably right. They overlook all the immoral things that Trump does. But, guess what, buddies. You are a US citizen. You will get a jury of US citizens, Trump supporters or not. This is the most disgusting request I have ever seen.

If you decide a criminal case on your political beliefs, you should never be a juror. The question in court is whether or not the people committed the crime and is there enough evidence to prove it. Any other consideration needs to be left outside the door, or the juror needs to recuse themselves.

Of example, the first time I was called to jury duty was for a woman accused killing her abusive husband. This happened just a few years after I had escaped from my abusive husband. If I had been chosen for the pool, I would have explained why I couldn't be objective and why.

Tony Peterson 5 months, 2 weeks ago

It's something of a non-issue regardless of who they voted for. During jury selection the prosecution and defense have to come to an agreement on who will serve and one side can reject a juror selected by the other if they think there might be a bias in favor of their opposition.

Gary Stussie 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Dorothy, I agree that we should have objective jurists. Have you seen the latest comments on Mueller's Grand Jury?

"The 20-member grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation of the Trump administration for possible collusion with the Russians appears to be a classic kangaroo court. According to an unnamed witness who testified before the secret panel, "[t]he grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally. Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley[, Calif.]"

The story was reported worldwide in the Daily Mail on January 2 after initially being published earlier the same day in an article by Richard Johnson on Page Six of the New York Post. According to the witness who was interviewed by Johnson, eleven of the 20 jurors are black Americans, and two of the jurors wore "peace" t-shirts. "There was only one white male in the room, and he was a prosecutor," the witness said."

The Wall Street Journal is the first of the MSM to call for Robert Mueller to step down. They are certainly not supporters of President Trump and this couldn’t have been easy for them. Let’s hope more do the same.

Robert Mueller was the FBI Director at the time of the alleged racketeering scheme involving the Russians and the Clintons. Mueller knew there was substantial evidence of a bribery/extortion/money laundering scheme by the Russians and would be one of the first witnesses to be called in any investigation of the Clintons and others in the Uranium and Tenex deals. This is an obvious conflict of interests.

I don't know where this is going but it sure stinks! I worked for, and with, the Government since 1965 ... the rules clearly state that even the PERCEPTION of conflict of interest is to be avoided.

Josh Berg 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Well played Gary. Caught Dorothy with a double standard

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 2 weeks ago

And what does it mean ", eleven of the 20 jurors are black Americans, and two of the jurors wore "peace" t-shirts. "There was only one white male in the room, and he was a prosecutor," the witness said."" 11 out of 20, but there was only 1 white man there? Seriously? Math problems? Sure hope this wasn't an expert witnesses.

Michael Kort 5 months, 2 weeks ago

According to an unnamed ( called to be a witness but not proved to be an actual witness ) witness..........and does this witness also deny Trump's brazen " Russia......... are you listening ? " .........remarks ?

Many of us were born at night.........but not last night .

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a grand jury. 11 of the 20 are Black? Why is that a problem? And I know conservatives don't believe in peace, but why do you think that someone who does can't look at the evidence and make a decision. If you are a believer in peace, you usually believe in justice too. And they aren't trying to find anyone guilty, because they are a "grand jury". They are just deciding if there is enough evidence to charge someone. What are you so worried about? If they decide to charge someone, they are still innocent until prove guilty. And that would take the selection of a trail jury. A trail jury can be interrogated by prosecution and defense. You really need to educate yourself about the differences.

Gary Stussie 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Not even the PERCEPTION of conflict !!!

I'm not worried ... let's see how you respond when a Grand Jury is convened for HRC .... it's coming!

Michael Kort 5 months, 2 weeks ago

in your dreams ...........or someone has hijacked your Ouija

In your dreams..........or maybe your Ouija Board has been hacked by Russians .?

Steve Hicks 5 months, 1 week ago

Gary, you keep crediting your 50-year experience with government for the "wisdom" you promote to us.

Many of the other commenters here likewise have a half-century of contact with government (and really, doesn't every tax-payer and voter of retirement age ?).

But most of us have learned the wisdom that it's not GOOD (there's that moral dimension that always trips you up) that government be at the personal whim of an egomaniac liar.

If you miss that, you missed the foundational civics lesson of American government. If you miss that, you evidently kept your eyes (even more, your mind) closed during the Nixon administration.

The GOOD wisdom I'd recommend to you...since you seem to have missed that no egomaniac liar should ever be trusted with the government of our country.

I'd also recommend you apply that wisdom whether the politician is a libertarian, a Democrat, a "conservative," a "liberal," a Republican, a Tea Partier, a Green Partier, or whatever other guises politicians invent. That seems to be where you always go off the commonsense rails.

I'm pulling for you, Gary.

Gary Stussie 5 months, 1 week ago

Steve We don't need a politician in the White House, one that consults the polls before he takes a bathroom break ... We need a leader. Stand back and watch .... President Trump will solve the problems these milk-toast politicians have fumbled with for decades ... all the while fighting off the slings and arrows of a horribly biased MSM and a sea of snowflakes!

The Nixon reference is galling in light of the corruption which took place in the Clinton camp ... only wrong if a Republican does it Huh?

Steve Hicks 5 months, 1 week ago

I'm not of your faction, Gary, so what I say, I mean.

So what I said above, that the same standard applies to politicians, regardless of their faction, I truly meant.. Therefore...

when a Republican president uses the oval office for sexual assignations (Harding, for example), he does a shameful thing, and should be officially censured:

and when a Democratic president uses the oval office and/or government agencies to run a criminal enterprise, he should be impeached.

What part of unbiased ethics don't you get ? You should also ask yourself why you don't. You seem pretty adamant "the horribly biased MSM" and "snowflakes" don't control your thinking, so your puppet-masters are obviously some other bunch. It would do you a lot of good, Gary, to figure out who they are...and then be wary of them.

Steve Hicks 5 months, 1 week ago

Defendant Wright's belief was that killing people with his bombing would spark a civil conflict that would wipe out all those he blamed for "corrupting" our country.

Does that kind of deluded reasoning sound familiar to anyone else ? Charles Manson, perhaps ?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 1 week ago

And the fact that they are really sure that if you support Trump, you must support that kind of civil conflict tells you a lot about Trump and company. I wonder if Trump will be a character witness for them?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 5 months, 1 week ago

Hey, here's one of their buddies. Do you think he'll only want Trump supporters on his jury too? Maybe Trump will be a character witness for him too.

Steve Hicks 5 months, 1 week ago

Help me out here, Gary: are you deluded by believing liars, or did you do it yourself ?

Did "they" tell you Trump is a "leader"...and you stupidly believed "them:" or did you convince yourself that Trump is a "leader" ?

Not a rhetorical question, Gary: who persuaded you to believe this lie ? Please answer.

See, Gary, a "leader" is someone who knows the right thing to do...and can get convince others to follow him/her in the right direction.

We all...except you and others who (fail to) think like you...can see Trump doesn't have any moral criteria for determining what's right...changes direction within 24 hours...changes direction again...and again. That's not a "leader." That's a mentally unstable fool.

What's that make people who follow him ?

Again, not a rhetorical question, Gary. Please answer.

"Crooked Hilary" or "evil Obama" is a dishonest answer. You'll show you're an honest person, right, Gary ? Otherwise, you're just another damned liar, aren't you ?

Richard Neuschafer 5 months, 1 week ago

The Defense just wants those who are uninformed, misinformed, and/or have little upstairs on the jury.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.