To Pre-empt an Ass-Handing, the Government Lards on Problematic New Charges against MalwareTech

When last we checked in on the MalwareTech (Marcus Hutchins) case, both FBI agents involved in his arrest had shown different kinds of unreliability on the stand and in their written assertions, and Hutchins’ defense had raised a slew of legal challenges that, together, showed the government stretching to use wiretapping and CFAA statutes to encompass writing code so as to include Hutchins in the charges. It looked like the magistrate in the case, Nancy Joseph, might start throwing out some of the government’s more expansive legal theories.

That is, it looked like the government’s ill-advised decision to prosecute Hutchins in the first place might be mercifully put out of its misery with some kind of dismissal.

But the government, which refuses to cut its losses on its own prosecutorial misjudgments, just doubled down with a 10-count superseding indictment. Effectively, the superseding creates new counts, first of all, by charging Hutchins for stuff that 1) is outside a five year statute of limitations and 2) he did when he was a minor (that is, stuff that shouldn’t be legally charged at all), and then adding a wire fraud conspiracy and false statements charge to try to bypass all the defects in the original indictment. [See update below — I actually think what they’re doing is even crazier and more dangerous.]

The false statements charge is the best of all, because for it to be true a Nevada prosecutor would have to be named as Hutchins’ co-conspirator, because his representations in court last summer directly contradict the claims in this new indictment.

Wherein financial criminals VinnyK and Randy become bit players in criminal mastermind Marcus Hutchins’ drama

To understand how they’re doing this, first understand there are two criminals Hutchins is alleged to have had interactions with three-plus years ago:

  • VinnyK (Individual A), a guy who sold a UPAS kit on July 3, 2012, days after Hutchins turned 18, and then on June 11, 2015, sold Kronos, a piece of malware with no known US victims. Altogether VinnyK made $3,500 for the two sales of malware alleged in this indictment. When this whole thing started, the government charged Hutchins mostly if not entirely to coerce him to provide information on VinnyK (information which he said in a chat in the government’s possession he doesn’t have). He’s the guy they’re supposed to be after, but now they’re after Hutchins exclusively.
  • “Randy” (Individual B), an actual criminal “involved in the various cyber-based criminal enterprises including the unauthorized access of point-of-sale systems and the unauthorized access of ATMs.” At some point, in an attempt to limit or avoid his own criminal exposure, Randy implicated Hutchins.

With this superseding indictment, the government has turned these two criminals into the bit players in a scheme in which Hutchins is now the targeted criminal.

Interestingly, unlike in the original indictment, VinnyK is not charged in this superseding indictment. I’m not sure what that means — whether the government has decided they like him now, they’ll never get him extradited and he won’t show up at DefCon because he’s learned Hutchins’ lesson, or maybe even they’ve gotten him to flip in a bid to avoid embarrassment with Hutchins. So there’s one guy the government admits is a criminal — Randy — and another guy they believed was a serious enough criminal they had to arrest the guy who saved the world from WannaCry to help find, VinnyK. Neither is charged in this indictment. Hutchins is.

Conspiracy to violate minors outside the statute of limitations

As I said, one way the government gets from 6 to 10 counts is by identifying a second piece of software — allegedly written by Hutchins — that VinnyK sold, so as to charge the same legally suspect crimes twice.

This is a comparison of the old versus new indictment.

As I understand it (though the indictment is damned vague on this point) the additional wiretapping and CFAA charges come from a second piece of software.

Here’s what that second alleged crime looks like:

a. Defendant MARCUS HUTCHINS developed UPAS Kit and provided it to [VinnyK], who was using alias “Aurora123” at the time.

b. On or about July 3, 2012, [VinnyK], sold and distributed UPAS Kit to an individual located in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in exchange for $1,500 in digital currency.

c. On or about July 20, 2012, [VinnyK], distributed an updated version of UPAS Kit to an individual in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

First of all, notice how Hutchins’ activities in this second crime aren’t listed with any date? Wikipedia says Hutchins was born in June 1994 and I’ve confirmed that was when he was born. Which means either he coded UPAS Kit in a few weeks or less, or the actions he’s accused of here happened when he was a minor.

Now look at your calendar. July 2012 was 6 years ago, so outside a 5  year statute of limitations; for some reason the government didn’t even try to include the July 20, 2012 action when they first charged this last year. One way or another, the SOL has tolled on these actions.

The time periods for this new alleged crime, though, is listed as July 2014 to August 2014. Except all new actions listed in that time period are tied to Kronos, not UPAS. In other words, unless I’m missing something, the government has tried to confuse the jury by charging Kronos twice, all while introducing UPAS, which is both tolled and on which Hutchins’ alleged role occurred while he was a minor.

[See update below,]

Criminalizing malware research

The effort against Hutchins always threatened to criminalize malware research. But the government (perhaps in an effort to substantiate a second crime associated with Kronos) has gone one step further with this claim:

On or about December 23, 2014, defendant MARCUS HUTCHINS hacked control panels associated with Phase Bot, malware HUTCHINS perceived to be competing with Kronos. In a chat with [Randy], HUTCHINS stated, “well we found exploit (sic) [sic] in this panel just hacked all his customers and posted it on my blog sucks that these [] idiots who cant (sic) [sic] code make money off this :|” HUTCHINS then published an article on his Malwaretech blog titled “Phase Bot — Exploiting C&C Panel” describing the vulnerability.

The government doesn’t explain this (and I guarantee you they didn’t explain this to the grand jury — I mean they put the word “hacked” right there so it must be EVIL), but they’re claiming this article talking about how to thwart Phase Bot malware via vulnerabilities in its command and control module — that is, a post about how to defeat malware!!!! — is really a devious plot to undercut the competition.

Again, the original indictment was dangerous enough. But now the government is claiming that if you write about how to thwart malware, you might be doing it for criminal purposes.

Charging the other bad guys with wire fraud conspiracy

As a reminder, the charges in the original indictment (which remain largely intact here) were problematic because selling Kronos fit neither the definition of wiretapping nor CFAA (the latter because it doesn’t damage computers). In an apparent attempt to get out of that problem (though not the venue one, which best as I can tell remains a glaring problem here), they’ve added a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, arguing that Hutchins “knowingly conspired and agreed with [VinnyK] and others unknown to the Grand Jury, to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses and transmit by wire in interstate and foreign commerce any writing, signs, and signals for the purpose of executing the scheme.”

I’ll let the lawyers explain whether this charge will hold up better than the wiretapping and CFAA ones. But at least as alleged, all VinnyK has ever done (even assuming Hutchins can be shown to have agreed with this) is to sell Kronos to an FBI agent in Wisconsin.

The only one in this entire indictment described as actually making money off using Kronos is Randy, the guy the US government isn’t prosecuting because he narced out Hutchins. Meaning the guy with whom Hutchins would most credibly be claimed to have conspired to commit wire fraud is the one guy not mentioned in the charge.

But for some reason the government decided the just thing to do when faced with these facts was charge only the guy who saved the world from WannaCry.

Charging false statements after both FBI agents have been shown to be unreliable

Which brings us, finally, to what is probably the point of this superseding indictment, the government’s effort to salvage their authority. They’ve charged Hutchins with lying to the FBI about knowing that his code was part of Kronos.

On August 2, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was conducting an investigation related to Kronos, which was a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On or about August 2, 2017, in the state of Eastern District of Wisconsin and elsewhere,


knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and represented in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he stated in sum and substance that he did not know his computer code was part of Kronos until he reverse engineered the malware sometime in 2016, when in truth and fact, as HUTCHINS then knew, this statement was false because as early as November 2014, HUTCHINS made multiple statements to Individual B in which HUTCHINS acknowledged his role in developing Kronos and his partnership with Individual A.

Whoo boy.

First of all, as I’ve noted, one agent Hutchins allegedly lied to had repeatedly tweaked his Miranda form, without noting that she did that well after he signed the form. The other one appears to have claimed on the stand that he explained to Hutchins what he had been charged with, when the transcript of Hutchins’ interrogation shows the very same agent admitting he hadn’t explained that until an hour later.

So the government is planning on putting one or two FBI agents who have both made inaccurate statements — arguably even lied — to try to put Hutchins in a cage for lying. And they’re claiming that they were “conducting an investigation related to Kronos,” which is 1) what they didn’t tell Hutchins until over an hour after his interview started and 2) what they had already charged him for by the time of the interview.

Oh wait! It gets better. See how they describe that Hutchins lied in Wisconsin?

The interrogation happened in Las Vegas, which last I checked was not anywhere near Eastern District of Wisconsin. I mean, I’m sure there’s a way to finesse these things wit that “and elsewhere” language, but this indictment simply asserts that an interrogation room in the Las Vegas airport was in Milwaukee.

And there’s more!!!

On top of the fact that one or another agent who themselves have credibility problems would have to go on the stand to accuse Hutchins of lying, and on top of the fact that they say this thing that happened in Las Vegas didn’t stay in Las Vegas but was actually in Milwaukee, there’s the fact that AUSA Dan Cowhig, on August 4, 2017, in a bid to deny Hutchins bail, represented to a judge that,

In his interview following his arrest, Mr. Hutchins admitted that he was the author of the code that became the Kronos malware and admitted that he sold that code to another.

We don’t have the full transcript of Hutchins’ interrogation yet (parts released by the defense show him admitting to underlying code, which may be what this UPAS stuff is about, though denying Kronos itself). But for it to be true that Hutchins lied about knowing that “his computer code was part of Kronos until he reverse engineered the malware,” then Cowhig would have had to be lying last year.

So to sum up: the government’s bid to save face, on top of some jimmying with dates and using Randy to accuse Hutchins of something that Randy is far more guilty of, is to put two agents who have real credibility problems on the stand to argue that their colleague in Nevada, which apparently spends its summers in Wisconsin, lied last year when he claimed that Marcus admitted “he was the author of the code that became the Kronos malware.”

Update: It has been suggested those 2012 UPAS Kit actions got included because they are part of the conspiracy, which is how they get beyond tolling (though not Hutchins’ age). If the government is arguing that UPAS is the underlying code that Hutchins contributed to Kronos, then that might make sense. Except that then the false statements charge becomes even more ridiculous, because we know that Hutchins admitted to that bit.

Chartier: So you haven’t had any other involvement in any other pieces of malware that are out or have been out?

Hutchins: Only the form-grabber and the bot.

Chartier: Okay. So you did say the form-grabber for Kronos, then?

Hutchins: Not the form-grabber for Kronos. It was an earlier one released in about I’m gonna say 2014?

Also note, at least according to Hutchins’ jail call to his boss, GCHQ vetted this earlier activity and found it to be unproblematic.

Update: On fourth read (this indictment makes no sense), I think the new charges are not the 2012 sales, but a vague crime based on the marketing, but no sale, of malware in 2014. In other words, they’re accusing Hutchins of wiretapping and CFAA crimes because someone else posted a YouTube. Note, the YouTube in question has already been litigated, as the government is trying hard to get venue because of that — because YouTube is based in the US.

This is such an unbelievably dangerous argument; it’s a real testament to the sheer arrogance of this prosecution at this point, that they’ll stop at nothing to avoid the embarrassment of admitting how badly they fucked up.

55 replies
    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      upas kit (aka, romblast) is a nothingburger.

      Seriously, nothing. In 2012, a russian (maybe fake) was pushing it.

      • bmaz says:

        And what the fuck does that mean? If you are going to comment here, can you please do it in English? If not, then, seriously, stop. This isn’t 4Chan, act like you give a shit and understand that.

  1. orionATL says:

    as presented here, the superseding indictment seems remarkably contrived.

    i suppose this  is all about adding years in jail in order to  freighten hutchins into a plea agreement.

    so what is the real story behind these indictments of hutchins? why track him across the ocean and the u. s. to a hacking conference using less than your highest quality fbi personnel, charge him with stuff that may not stick, then add a superseding indictment virtually boasting legal non-starters when the original legal charge appears in danger of being dismissed?

    the original indicatement itself does not give any sense of the dept of justice pursuing a notable hacking effort or group. this isn’t the owner or seller of eternal blue.

    what does doj really want from hutchins? or is hutchins just an object for the doj to play with while asserting its legal powers? 

    or might this seemingly trivial  play involve obesiance to  the trump white house’s tough on crime campaign?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It looks like standard DoJ ass covering.  Whoever launched this prosecution should have his or her ass handed to them.  Neither the Don nor Sessions are capable of saying, “Sorry, I fucked up.”  So the DoJ will double down.

      They are assuming the role of the French army instead of the Dreyfusards.  As the embodiment of the state, the army could do no wrong, especially when it did wrong.  That did not work out well for anyone, except the gaoler on Devil’s Island.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes Orion, think that is exactly right. Also think this has been coming for a while. I am not sure any possible goal of the government is going to happen at this point; in fact it is pretty clear it will not. Only question now is on what terms will Mr. Hutchins leave? No idea as to that.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The government is at least trying to criminalize private malware research. Which might mean they don’t want researchers to sort out the government’s malware research and what it does with it.

    But this seems like such a poor case, sorely mishandled, with attempted fixes badly mishandled, that it will backfire in a big way.

    • orionATL says:

      “criminalize private malware research”. that’s interesting. at least that would be a comprehensible policy in simple security terms.

      but would it be a really smart idea? there are instances in which researchers have hacked into corporate manufactured electronic devices and demonstrated they have problematic deficiencies. there was some act of congress passed say 4 years ago, with the practical effect of merging government and corporate surveillance, that did indeed criminalize private research/hacking. i think it was spawned by ssci. it seemed to me at the time to be very illconceived. i don’t know where that law has ended up in court.

      in general, i doubt you really can or should divide science and research into legit and illegit categories and shut the latter down – say, stem cell research, or the u. s. gov effort to shut down some biological research after september, 2001. if you do, singapore will eat your lunch and give your scientists better pay, better labs, and a window with a view. finally, any putative doj mandate along these lines will also ignores the fact that the u. s. nsa feats and hires hackers.

      altogether this sounds like confused, contrdictory, unenforceable policy.

        • orionATL says:

          it’s not obvious, so to explain why i mention cifa in this context: because, from memory, i recall that there was a clause or condition in that peculiar legislation that caused engineers and computer scientists to fear that their work on, say, the highly deceptively engineered volkswagen, audi, porsche disel emissions deceit on the public, or on inappropriate, dangerous actions by data/digitally controlled motors, could render them targets of the law. there was probably some suspicion too that this condition was not accidental, given the sudden enthusiastic support for the legislation from the heretofore opposed u. s. chamber of commerce.

      • Michael says:

        “but would [criminalizing private malware research] be a really smart idea?”

        I and many security professionals think not, for the general reason you point out. But the other side of the debate think it would be fine – very patriotic as well as helpful to law enforcement, in fact – if cellphone makers would just backdoor their encryption … and thereby decimate the security of *every* cellphone user. Law enforcement has its laser focus on “drug gangs, rapists, and pedophiles” and they do not recognize – at least do not acknowledge – the consequences to the rest of the world. They are not nuts but the tactics supporting their strategy is nuts.

        “i doubt you really can or should divide science and research into legit and illegit categories and shut the latter down”

        We agree on this too. (Rump and his hangers-on enter, stage right). “A lot op people” want not only to separate science and research but also to crush them individually. I think the arena that most exemplifies this is pretty much everything the EPA has done under Pruitt and everything it wants to do. (A glimmer of sanity yesterday: Pruitt was asked for documentary support for his statement that increased carbon dioxide is not a major cause of increased global temperature.)

      • ZM-73 says:

        Don’t forget the FBI/Corporate program of InfraGuard.   When it started they let anyone attend meetings.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Lied to the FBI”?  Put him in jail for two months and expel him.  But only after the Feds get a guilty plea, which they can’t because their case seems to be shit however they squeeze it out of the meat grinder.  Lord knows whether it could snow a jury with sausage that seems well past its sell by date.

    • emptywheel says:

      I need to look at the new CFAA charge and the wire fraud one closer. Those might hold up better, if you ignore that they’re prosecuting MWT and not the criminals.

      • orionATL says:

        here’s some info on cfaa i found useful. cfaa is technologically “old” legislation dating from the mid-1980 that has been updated several times. gov’s implementation of the act hasn’t done a damn thing for my personal computer security that so far as i can tell :)

        miss wiki has a history:

        “… The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a United States cybersecurity bill that was enacted in 1986 as an amendment to existing computer fraud law (18 U.S.C. § 1030), which had been included in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The law prohibits accessing a computer without authorization, or in excess of authorization.[1]

        The original 1984 bill was enacted in response to concern that computer-related crimes might go unpunished. The House Committee Report to the original computer crime bill characterized the 1983 techno-thriller film WarGames—in which a young Matthew Broderick breaks into a U.S. military supercomputer programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war and unwittingly almost starts World War III—as “a realistic representation of the automatic dialing and access capabilities of the personal computer.”[2]

        The CFAA was written to increase the scope of the previous version of 18 U.S.C. § 1030 while, in theory, limiting federal jurisdiction to cases “with a compelling federal interest-i.e., where computers of the federal government or certain financial institutions are involved or where the crime itself is interstate in nature.” (see “Protected Computer”, below). In addition to amending a number of the provisions in the original section 1030, the CFAA also criminalized additional computer-related acts. Provisions addressed the distribution of malicious code and denial of service attacks. Congress also included in the CFAA a provision criminalizing trafficking in passwords and similar items.[1]

        Since then, the Act has been amended a number of times—in 1989, 1994, 1996, in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act, 2002, and in 2008 by the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act.

        In January 2015 Barack Obama proposed expanding the CFAA and the RICO Act in his Modernizing Law Enforcement Authorities to Combat Cyber Crime proposal.[3] DEF CON organizer and Cloudflare researcher Marc Rogers, Senator Ron Wyden, and Representative Zoe Lofgrenhave stated opposition to this on the grounds it will make many regular Internet activities illegal, and moves further away from what they were trying to accomplish with Aaron’s Law.[145]… “

    • bmaz says:

      Never underestimate the desperation of a governmental entity to extract a plea, any plea, to avoid humiliation.

      • Avattoir says:

        Well, the career dreams of quite ambitious albeit largely incompetent investigators and prosecutors IS on the line here. They’re all only on this case in the first place because they can’t compete for either really high profile career boosting cases or desk commander slots, so if this case were to melt away without any plea deal they have at least some hope of spinning, it’ll be pensionable time from now on or else the Guiliani route of bullshitting their records as prosecutors in hopes of fooling enough of the voting public at least once.

        FWIW, in my circles, “got his ass handed to him” and “rat fuckers” are professional terms of art (both of which BION I’ve managed to work into transcripts of trials by perfectly acceptable means, an accomplishment by no means singular), so, particularly for a proud potty mouth, your title’s on firm ground.

        • orionATL says:

          here is a helpful overview of the case from bbc.

          it raises briefly a consideration i have – how is it that the doj and its little brother the fbi can snatch a foreign citizen, especially a brit (our cousins in common law) right off of an american street without something akin to an extradition procedure? do we have a reciprocal shanghaiing agreement?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            You’ve explained it when you said, “american street”.  The Met could stop and arrest you on the pavement in front of Harrods in London with no problem.  It would a need reason and would have to inform the US Embassy within a reasonable time.

            Hutchins was arrested on US soil, purportedly for a federal crime.  The FBI was well within its jurisdiction to do so.  The issue is its reason, which looks increasingly shabby and full of holes.  British consular affairs should be paying attention to this.  But as the little brother in the relationship, the Brits do not often get their way.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    One wonders why the “blame Obama” card hasn’t been played here. Maybe there is something contentious between Parscale and Hutchins, otherwise I do not see any good reason to continue this case for all of the things / defects noted. It seems set up to play the “deep state” card as well. Any ideas why this DOJ is so dug in here? It’s not like there is a tie (yet) to GOP peccadillos on the national or WI levels.

  5. aubrey mcfate says:

    I am trying to tweet you with some information I think you’ll be interested in but your retweets are blocked, I think (I’m completely new to Twitter). How do I get through to you by Twitter?

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So where in the world is Trump’s architect?  Does Bob Mueller have him on ice, or should we be looking in the cement mixer?

    NYC architect John Fotiadis worked with Trump on project proposals for Russia.  He worked closely with Paul Manafort, and on four projects for the Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov.

    Architects are bottlenecks.  Most things about large projects flow through them: information on partners, developers, schedules, financing, supplier and building proposals and contracts.  They liaise with local governments about project approvals, materials import approvals, visas for key personnel, waivers, exemptions, tax abatements.  They pick up a lot of information, none of it privileged.

    Now, Donald Trump burns through architects faster than he does mistresses.  And he pays them as grudgingly.  But it’s unusual for them, as Mr. Fotiadis has done, to close their firm and their twitter account, and remain incommunicado for two months.  Christina Wilkie’s most recent article on Fotiadis and Mr. Mueller’s interest in him.

    • harpie says:

      According to Wilkies CNBC article:
      […] Twelve days after announcing the JFA closure, Fotiadis became design director at SNS Architects and Engineering, a 30-person firm based in Montvale, […]  An SNS employee confirmed to CNBC that Fotiadis had joined the firm in April, but other SNS executives did not respond to interview requests and questions about how the firm came to hire him. His biography on the SNS website does not mention any of his former clients, although it does say that he worked on projects in Eastern Europe. […]
      Interesting career move….


    • Trip says:

      That article made it sound like he segued into some little start-up, but look at the client list. And they are doing hotels/hospitality. Since they do commercial work, I wonder how much is associated with Kushner, who owns a large amount of commercial real estate in NJ, including office buildings.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Fotiadis’s supposed new employer builds car dealerships, parking lots, and strip malls in the Tri-State area.  That’s a hideaway gig for a guy with a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia, whose specialty is tall, glass enclosed structures, and who worked for some of the wealthiest people in the world.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Most of those buildings are not the complex signature projects of the kind Fotiadis has worked on.  This is a hideaway gig.  That he might have obtained it through the Kushner’s is useful but secondary.

          Fotiadis’s apparent whitewashing of several of his signature projects in Eastern Europe is unusual.  That’s like an actor putting his Oscar in the closet.  So, too, is the way he went from a ten-year, own firm practice with global customers to a regional building firm. That is like Grace Kelly leaving Hitchcock for summer stock in Hartford.

          For someone at the top of his game in Manhattan, it seems unusual to go back to New Jersey.  It would be more routine if Fotiadis had come in as an owner or equity partner.  But that sort of change is usually accompanied by tombstones and lots of PR coverage, not silence.

          • Trip says:

            No doubt @earl. I just think the article wasn’t entirely honest or sincere. And they left a lot of questions as to the connections with this new firm.

            • orionATL says:

              maybe search for the hidden part of the new firm’s portfolio on facebook that suggests money-laundering opportunities :)

              remember who is czarina of the dept of education, not to mention the possibilities opened up by any serious infrastructure repair program. happy daz are here again!

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I thought it highlighted the oddness and abruptness of Fotiadis’s change of circumstances and the unusual silence about it.

              While his new employer seems to have substance, and the work would be worthwhile, it is an unusual move.  It is rather like a partner at a Manhattan law firm going to work as an employee for a firm in NJ.  There’s usually a backstory to that.  With substantial connections to Trump and Manafort, there certainly would be.

              As Harpie points out below, Mueller’s apparent interest in Fotiadis is as a fact witness, not as a subject or target.  He should know a lot about Manafort and Trump and some of their Ukrainian and/or Russian clients, little or none of which would be privileged.

    • harpie says:

      I’m interested in how his work in Ukraine overlapped with Manafort’s time there.

      “We started [JFA] in 2009, and through a series of very interesting and lucky circumstances we wound up doing a lot of work in Eastern Europe, mostly in Ukraine, from 2009 to 2013,” Fotiadis said in a video [7/27/17] interview with the Kiyv Post. “Then things went dark for a while, and now I’m back, because things seem to be coming back.” The interview was videoed on location at the Skyline, a high-rise condominium in downtown Kiev that Fotiadis helped design. 

      “Then things went dark for a while” LOL!

      • harpie says:

        And with/for whom:

        Today, Akhmetov is best known to Americans as the Ukrainian oligarch who first hired former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in 2005 to come and work for him in Ukraine. For the next 10 years, Manafort would serve as the top consultant to Akhmetov’s pro-Russia political party [Party of Regions]. Manafort is currently awaiting trial on federal money laundering and tax evasion charges stemming from his work in Ukraine.

      • orionATL says:

        yeah. just look for the network connections, always the network connections:

        manafort, fotiadis, gates. all expats working in the ukraine beginning in 2009, all worked for trump. lots of good stories and jokes to share with each other.

    • harpie says:

      I think it’s important to remember that Fotiadis is not under investigation. It’s his work as “a window into Trump’s dealings in the complex, opaque world of Eurasian real estate” that Mueller is interested in. 

      Today, several of these projects are reportedly under scrutiny by the special counsel, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any means by which Moscow might have exerted influence over Trump or his campaign, including through his business deals. 

      There are no indications that Fotiadis has done anything wrong and no indications that Mueller is investigating that possibility.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This bears repeating, especially as EW provides the corrective context that Jake Tapper omits.  Tapper repeats Giuliani’s derision of Stormy Daniels, saying that she sells her body for sex and therefor has no reputation to damage.

    Remember what actually happened here. Stormy and Trump had consensual sex. Then, to artificially protect his own reputation, Trump paid her 6 figures to help him sustain a lie of respectability.

    It’s Trump whose reputation is at issue, not Stormy’s.

    Giuliani’s comment was immensely hypocritical, btw.  Rudy is a good Catholic and serial adulterer, and at least one of his three wives learned of her divorce from him by reading about it in the press.  He seems to like imposing humiliation on women almost as much as the Don.  His third wife filed for divorce two months ago.

    More importantly, Rudy’s client, Donald J. Trump, was the john having sex with Ms. Daniels and a boatload of other women.  He did or tried to pay them for it and did pay more than a few of them a lot of money shortly before his election to shut up about it.

    Giuliani also made his statement from Tel Aviv, an odd location for the president’s personal attorney to be giving a press conference, but which isolated him from much of the American press, which might have called bullshit on this and his claim about the FBI attempting “to frame” the president.  One might think such obvious and similar lies would be beyond zealous representation and be the subject of an ethics complaint to the New York bar.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I don’t suppose Rudy was working on getting stories straight with anyone living in Israel who might have known or worked with the Don.

    • orionATL says:

      so who in the Church provided dispensation for a divorce? i’ve had friends who had a hell of a time with that litle detail. or dispensation for a divorcee to remarry? do they still sell indulgences these days :)

      what did this cost? was the new york Church’s pedophilery legal problem tangled in by any chance? methinks the ghoulish-looking survivor of the towers bombing put his foot in it this time – if – if there is any persistent followup by the media.

      evangelical and conservative catholic” basers” should be especially challenged with this info.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The absurdities often found among annulments in the Catholic Church were chronicled by Sheila Rauch Kennedy, Shattered Faith (1997).

        The CC refuses to recognize divorces.  But the American CC has a laundry list of reasons for granting an annulment, which voids the marriage, creating a make believe situation in which it never happened.  That has made the American CC the Las Vegas of the CC, the go to jurisdiction to get one.  An annulled marriage never existed, which permits “remarriage” inside the church.

        In Rudy’s case, the purported rationale was that he “suddenly” realized that his first wife was his second cousin.  He obtained it after he obtained a civil divorce. Both were long after he began an affair with the woman who became his second wife, whom he, in turn, left after starting an affair with his third wife. who filed for divorce two months ago. 

        When asked, Rudy’s usual response about whether he is a good Catholic is a jesuitical one: it is for a priest to decide.

  8. Trip says:

    Andrew Lawrence‏ @ndrew_lawrence

    Hey remember when Assange DM’d Hannity asking him to reach out on an encrypted app? Tonight Hannity is freaking out about Mueller searching encrypted apps and “advised” all Mueller witnesses to “bash” their phones “into itsy bitsy pieces”


    So Hannity is recommending destroying evidence in an active investigation. The same guy who wanted Hillary jailed for deleted emails, Mmkay. When does he get hauled into Mueller’s office as a conspirator of obstruction?

  9. Trip says:

    Colin Kaepernick’s legal team expected to subpoena President Trump in case against NFL

    After months of circling President Donald Trump during NFL depositions and discovery, Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers are expected to force Trump directly into the ongoing legal battle between the quarterback and league.
    Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to seek federal subpoenas in the coming weeks to compel testimony from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other officials familiar with the president’s agenda on protesting NFL players, sources with knowledge of the quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL told Yahoo Sports.
    The aim will be a dive into the administration’s political involvement with the NFL during Kaepernick’s free agency and the league’s handling of player protests, sources said. This after recent disclosures that multiple owners had direct talks with Trump about players kneeling during the national anthem. The content of those conversations between Trump and owners – as well as any forms of pressure directed at the league by the administration – are expected to shape the requests to force the testimony of Trump, Pence and other affiliated officials, sources said.

  10. ZM-73 says:

    Milwaukee could be the location because it had a large mutual fund in Menomonee Falls and had M&I bank. Both of those are gone via mergers.

    And this has went from 1 count grand jury if Chartier’s statement was correct to 6 to 10. The document presented in the stairwell was defraud the government – but us unwashed masses havn’t seen the original true bill from the Grand Jury.

    As for ‘thwarting malware is criminal’ remember arguments were made that going to a gun range which had automatic weapons translated into a bail threat along with saying there was a bail jumping concern after the younger DOJ lawyer stated he’d work with the defense to loosen the bail terms. Something for the infosec crowd to think about – how badly do you want AG/DOJ up in your business when this cased shows what being up in your business means?

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