If You Have Rick Gates (and Omarosa) You Don’t Need George Papadopoulos

The Trumpian bubble — likely led by right wing legal talking head Victoria Toensing — may be about to lead a young couple to do something insanely stupid.

Yesterday, Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos, George’s wife, tweeted out a request for a pro bono lawyer for her spouse.

A few hours later, she tweeted out notice that she would follow up with those who have specific expertise.

Simona Papadopoulos wants to ditch George’s plea deal at the stupidest possible moment

As she explained to Chuck Ross, who reports from deep within that Trumpian bubble, she and George are thinking of backing out of his plea deal (at the stupidest imaginable time), and instead suing the government and taking their chances with the evidence the government had in hand when Papadopoulos pled guilty to charges that undercharged his conduct, as well as the evidence the government obtained over the course of a year of Papadopoulos pitching for and then engaging in a plea deal.

“George should drop off his plea agreement, in my opinion,” Mangiante Papadopoulos told The Daily Caller News Foundation when contacted after her tweet.

“The idea is to find a lawyer to drop off his plea agreement and sue the government,” she added, noting that she and her husband plan to wait until after a court hearing on Friday to make a final decision.


Papadopoulos faces sentencing in the case on Sept. 7. The special counsel’s office will submit its recommendations for sentencing this Friday. While lying to the FBI carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, defendants in similar cases often receive six months or less in jail.

Remember: one reason Papadopoulos, relying on the advice of some of the more competent attorneys in this matter, pled guilty is because the FBI had evidence he had accepted payment from an Israeli asking for covert assistance. That’s on top of the lies to the FBI he already pled guilty to, not to mention the clear obstruction of deleting his Facebook account, and a key early role in setting up a conspiracy with Russia. When Stefan Halper (working for the FBI and therefore likely recording conversations) discussed these matters with Papadopoulos in September 2016, Papadopoulos admitted that being involved in them would amount to treason (it’s not treason, but his opinion that it might be makes his later actions far more damning).

This is what the Papadopouloses are reportedly entertaining, due no doubt to an entirely mistaken understanding of their status, one obtained by listening to people like Victoria Toensing and Chuck Ross.

Several things seem to have happened to get us to this point.

Mueller almost certainly has several other witnesses who can attest to knowledge Russians were offering emails

Consider: along with whatever else Rick Gates gave Mueller’s team in February when he became state’s evidence, he also probably described what Paul Manafort (and possibly, Don Jr) understood about the dirt Russians were offering to the Trump campaign when both attended the June 9 Trump Tower meeting. Indeed, one of the details included in Papadopoulos’ plea deal is that Gates and Manafort discussed how to respond to Russian (and Greek) offers for a meeting.

On or about May 21, 2016, defendant PAPADOPOULOS emailed another highranking Campaign official, with the subject line “Request from Russia to meet Mr. Trump.” The email included the May 4 MFA Email and added: “Russia has been eager to meet Mr. Trump for quite sometime and have been reaching out to me to discuss.”2

2 The government notes that the official forwarded defendant PAPADOPOULOS’s email to another Campaign official (without including defendant PAPADOPOULOS) and stated: “Let[‘]s discuss. We need someone to communicate that OT is not doing these trips. It should be someone low level in the campaign so as not to send any signal.”

We’ve also just learned that Omarosa also provided evidence to Mueller’s team in February, including her claim that Don Sr knew the Russians were offering emails before WikiLeaks released them.

That detail — that the campaign knew Russians were offering emails as dirt to help Trump — was one of the things that might have helped Papadopoulos avoid a prison sentence. But since he pled, others have almost certainly provided substantially the same information, based both on what Papadopoulos told them, and on what they in turn told their superiors on the campaign or what their superiors told them.

That is, Papadopoulos has served his purpose, and there are now better placed or more credible witnesses for any conspiracy trial.

Victoria Toensing likely recruited the Papadopouloses for her propaganda mission

Then there’s the most likely explanation for how the Papadopouloses got themselves in this position, considering ditching a plea deal and instead taking their chances with the evidence George participated in the case in chief.

Back in March, Chuck Ross started a series of articles — for which one or both of the Papadopouloses, Sam Clovis, and probably Clovis’ (and briefly, Trump’s) lawyer Toensing, were sources — naming lifetime GOP operative Stefan Halper as an informant (presenting evidence he sought to find out what Papadopoulos knew about the emails, possibly cultivated Carter Page, and got a meeting with Clovis to get an introduction to Papadopoulos). If you didn’t look too closely (as Ross did not) the stories served the Devin Nunes effort to suggest the investigation into Trump’s conspiracy with the Russians was based on a rocky foundation. If you looked closely, however, Ross’ series was actually quite damning. It confirmed Adam Schiff’s revelation that the Russians had specified that they intended to leak the dirt they were dealing to help Trump and that Papadopoulos believed, at the time he lied to the FBI about his interactions with Joseph Mifsud, that if he were involved in “hacking” emails it would amount to treason.

To those trying to rescue Trump from his own conspiracy exposure, the Papadopouloses were an easy mark. Perhaps offering a promise of a pardon, they got the two to break one of the requirements of George’s plea: that he not communicate with any of a list of co-conspirators, directly or indirectly. Surely Sam Clovis was on that list, not to mention the President.

That may explain why, as Nunes and his cronies started demanding every record pertaining to Halper, the government moved towards sentencing Papadopoulos, without waiting for him to testify in any trial.

There have been signs before yesterday that the government was not going to agree that Papadopoulos fulfilled his end of the plea deal. But yesterday is a pretty good sign that George doesn’t expect to get the sweet deal he might once have gotten, probably no prison time, had Papadopoulos not bought into conspiracy theories offered by people representing other clients.

The misleading mirror Papadopoulos would see in the Trumpian bubble

Much of this seems to be driven by Simona. I don’t have any reason to credit the rampant speculation she’s actually part of Russia’s influence operation. Rather, I just think she’s naive, working in a foreign country, and vastly underestimating the legal jeopardy the life she married into is in, in part because she is consuming shitty reporting from people within the Trumpian bubble.

Of which the Chuck Ross article reporting all this is a splendid example.

On top of omitting the fact that Papadopoulos obstructed the Russian investigation by deleting his Facebook and cell phone, and omitting Papadopoulos’ very damning comment about treason, Ross spins everything so as to totally misinform the frothy right, much to Simona’s misfortune.

For example, Ross offers Simona’s explanation up, as if it helps the legal case.

Mangiante Papadopoulos told TheDCNF that Papadopoulos believed Mifsud was referring to emails Clinton deleted from her private email server.

While this line has managed to confuse the frothy right about whether, in accepting dirt leading into the June 9 meeting, it would still amount to accepting a thing of value from a foreigner, it doesn’t much matter what Papadopoulos believed, either on April 26, 2016 or on January 27, 2017 (and repeated again a month later). What matters is after having learned the Russians wanted to release some emails that would help the Trump campaign, the campaign took overt actions accordingly.

Then Ross suggests that because some late summer meetings didn’t take place, it absolves Papadopoulos of initiating an effort that led to other meetings taking place.

Papadopoulos also attempted to set up meetings between campaign officials and Russian government officials, but according to the statement of offense submitted by the special counsel’s office, the meetings never took place.

Nope! George still took overt actions as part of a conspiracy, to say nothing of agreeing to join the conspiracy over and over.

Ross then suggests that because Papadopoulos didn’t have a lawyer at the first of two meetings at which he lied to the FBI, it means he didn’t commit a crime.

Prosecutors claim that during a Jan. 26, 2017 [sic], interview, Papadopoulos, who did not have a lawyer present, falsely claimed he met Mifsud prior to joining the campaign in March 2016. But Papadopulos first met Mifsud about a week after learning he would join the Trump team.

Remember, Papadopoulos not only repeated this lie a month later, with the benefit of counsel, but also swore that it was a lie when he pled guilty.

Ross then repeats a canard he has repeated earlier, that by offering up Mifsud’s name (but hiding Ivan Timofeev, the Russian he was engaging in call and response with) it’s exonerating for George.

As evidence that Papadopoulos did not intend to deceive the FBI, Mangiante Papadopoulos claims Papadopoulos volunteered Mifsud’s name to the agents who interviewed him.

Ross pretends that Mueller has questions, regarding Alexander Downer’s testimony, that only a bunch of frothy congressmen have questions about.

Details remain vague, but Downer allegedly claimed Papadopoulos mentioned Russia had derogatory information about Clinton.

Republican lawmakers have also questioned the premise of the FBI investigation and Downer’s role in the matter. One question has been why the information from Downer took over two months to reach the FBI.

Ross then repeats a whole bunch of baseless conspiracies about Stefan Halper — the very conspiracies that contributing to likely got the Papadopouloses in trouble — as if they were true because Devin Nunes said they were.

She also believes that government officials attempted to set up her husband with a series of approaches by government informants, including former Cambridge professor Stefan Halper.


Halper, a veteran of four Republican presidential administrations, also made contact with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and Sam Clovis.

The FBI may use informants at an assessment level. By the time Halper approached Papadopoulos, the investigation into the Trump campaign was a predicated full investigation. Ergo, it doesn’t help Papadopoulos’ case that the FBI used an informant, because that’s what the FBI does, with the long-time explicit knowledge of Devin Nunes and everyone else who oversees the FBI.

And finally, Ross indulges Simona’s fantasy of spinning the approach from Sergei Millian (pretending this approach was out of the blue, rather than something discussed with Ivan Timofeev in one of the Facebook communications Papadopoulos tried to hide) as a second use of an informant rather than a pretty obvious part of Russia’s outreach to Trump and his surrogates, dangling a Trump Tower deal.

Millian contacted Papadopoulos out of the clear blue on LinkedIn on July 22, 2016. The pair became fast friends, meeting several times during the course of the campaign. Mangiante Papadopoulos says George claimed Millian offered him $30,000 a month to work on Russian energy issues from inside the Trump administration.

I get that Chuck Ross’ job is to feed the frothy right, to present conspiracies in isolation from the public information that would pop those conspiracies.

But it seems like these two are feeding each other, Simona giving Ross the latest scoop on his serial conspiracy theory, and Ross feeding her insane plan to ditch a plea deal and face what are likely to be foreign agent and conspiracy charges instead of whatever sentence Mueller pitches tomorrow.

I mean, George is a self-important little shit who showed willingness to sell out his country (to at least two other countries) for a bit of fast money.

But he’s being used, badly, here.

As I disclosed last month, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

75 replies
  1. Trip says:

    Thanks for refreshing this topic, Marcy. A lot this stuff I had already forgotten.
    I’m not so sure Simona isn’t a Russian asset.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is a total fucking shocker. I mean, who would expect that some loudmouth at the Daily Caller might be full of shit? Color me stunned.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        Looking at Ross is sort of like experiencing the cold in a place like Quebec or Minnesota. You can read about it, you can try to bring it into context with the winter days you’ve experienced, but until you get right there in the middle of it, you really can’t get a handle on how crazy it really is to live with that on a long term basis.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Come on now, it really isn’t that bad during winter. Where else can you drive your truck out onto the lake? To keep ourselves warm, we actually do have central heat and insulated garments up here.

          Just like the reputation for daily rain in the Pacfic Northwest,  it keeps the riff raff out.

          • Pete says:

            But ice fishing is a benefit no?  Or so I have been told and seen on the teevee.

            Why else would one drive on lake ice?

            I recently watched Fargo for the umpteenth time.  I still am amazed by the scene where Buscemi is being ground up in the chipper.  Ya I am dontyaknow.

            • Gamboler says:

              My favorite Fargo moment is when Buscemi’s partner comes running out the door to kill him while trying to get his winter hat to stay on his head.

          • Bob Conyers says:

            That’s true. I would much rather spend a whole winter in Minnesota than a week with Chuck Ross.

            • Fran of the North says:

              Thanks BC! I think that might be our new marketing slogan: ‘North Country winters: Better than a week with Chuck Ross!’

              Yes, Pete, ice fishing is a plus. But contrary to my nom d’ guerre, I’m a transplant to the North Woods via the Military Intelligence Complex, so ice fishing isn’t an obsession. More a do-it-every now-and-again. I’m more of a ‘hunt big fish on big water with a boat’ kind of guy.

      • James Hester says:

        bmaz, Wow! using such a charming language on this site makes me wonder if you have a dictionary (English not project), or have oral dysentery, or simply a low life. I bet you have mirror with you and occasionally look in it , smile and kiss it. Any thoughts? None I bet.

        • bmaz says:

          If you don’t like it, I am truly sorry. Also, you can go blow if you are that hyper-sensitive. Have you not paid attention to who and what we are here over, I dunno, well over a decade? You are NOW offended? And by that?? Hahahaha.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not sure he doesn’t believe it. There are similar gaps in traditional press reporting (such as Mike Schmidt’s failure to see the collusion through the obstruction trees). We all develop beliefs and once we do it’s hard to shake them.

      • bmaz says:

        That is a hell of a suspect defense of Ross. But, I guess you roll with all there is, if that is all there is.

      • Willis Warren says:

        I’m assuming he doesn’t believe it, because it’s all so damn dumb.  How can anyone be married to a political ideology so much they think a deep state is out to get a dumbass?

        If there were a real deep state, they’d just be killing people.


  2. marksb says:

    While reading this my brain started playing the Dobbie Brothers “What A Fool Believes”

    …which of course Aretha covered and made better. Fools, indeed.

  3. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Papadopoulos, relying on the advice of some of the more competent attorneys in this matter

    George’s lawyers in Chicago are outside the bubble of DC attorney-operatives and wingnut welfare publications, and that’s probably been a good thing, but Simona at very least finds it too tempting to avoid the feedback loops. My guess is that the pre-sentencing report doesn’t look good for him, thanks to all of this, but we’ll see if he fires his lawyers or gets dropped by them a couple of weeks before his sentencing date.

    Also, EW needs to start referring to herself as the Legendary Pottymouth News Foundation.

  4. Bob Conyers says:

    Does Toensing face any kind of legal issue if she encourages someone to break the requirements of a plea deal? If so, does the fact that she’s an attorney come into play at all?

    I’m puzzling if one of the things Mueller has on GP would be any talks with Toensing to go against the plea deal, and if that puts her at any risk.

    • Avattoir says:

      Before even my time, a theoretically academically stylish as well as aggressive A.G. in any of a half dozen or so states might have pursued it as close enough to qualify as barratry. But even then, the list of jurisdictions didn’t include either D.C. or N.Y. state (the closest being Virginia), and IAE it appears that the SCOTUS in NCAACP vs Button (1963) delivered a fatal blow to barratry (and several other crimes at English Common Law and the subjects of special consignment in Dante’s Inferno).

      The general shape of litigation in this area since WWII, at least until once Thomas replaced Marshall on the Rehnquist SCOTUS in 1991, was to favor the rise of NFP public interest orgs that could assert standing in the federal court system, at the cost of taking away any at least theoretical public interest in continuing to allow actions like barratry.

      For a long time, at least one standing committee of the American Bar Association worked pretty hard and with some promise towards nation-wide acceptance of an expansive & purpose-oriented Model Rules of Practice. But the rise of the Federalist Society’s influence, as well as the increasing interest in the Rehnquist and Roberts courts in enabling rat-fucking, have systemically enfeebled those sorts of initiatives.

      I mean, JHC, even Scooter Libby got his legal practice license back.

      • orionATL says:

        this is a most interesting comment.
        and it includes a word i’ve never heard, ‘barraraty’.

        one cannot pass up an allusion to dante without investigating; his is a hell like you never imagined. now imagine it with matching black-and-white illustrations:


        Our first impression of this next pouch is that it’s really dark.So dark, in fact, that Dante takes a good long time comparing it to the color of the tar manufactured by the Venetian arsenal and used to fix their ships.As Dante is dutifully trying to make out what’s happening in that pitch-black valley, Virgil cries out for him to be careful.When he turns around to look, Dante almost passes out at the sight of a black demon racing towards them.Lucky for them, the demon doesn’t see them because he’s busy tormenting a sinner draped over his shoulder.From his speech Dante learns that this sinner is a barrator (or corrupt politician) from Lucca.The spiny demon throws the barrator into the river of boiling pitch and calls the rest of his gang (the Malebranche—which translates to “Evil-Claws”) to come join him.They crowd around to poke and push him under with their grappling hooks and pitchforks, just like cooks submerge bits of meat in their soup.Virgil very wisely tells Dante to keep down so that they’re not spotted by the demons.Just when we were beginning to completely trust Virgil, he screws it all up by sauntering up to the band of demons and ordering them to put their weapons down.Like in a bad horror movie, they corner him and laugh off his request. They let their leader, Malacoda (“Evil-Tail”), approach him to ask the one intelligent question they seem capable of: what is a live man doing down here?Oh boy. Here we go again.Virgil pulls out his “will of God” card and Malacoda agrees not to harm Dante.Virgil then calls the cowering Dante out of his hiding place in the rocks. As he scurries to Virgil’s side, he notes the sinister smiles and lip-licking and tail-lashing of the demons.One proposes stabbing Dante’s butt with a pitchfork. Everyone else gives a great hurrah, but Malacoda stops the party with a sharp order to the offender, Scarmiglione.Then he tells Virgil that it’s no use continuing the way they’re going because the bridge is broken. He volunteers ten of his demon band to accompany them to the next unbroken bridge, as long as they keep to their task of torturing sinners along the way.Dante is understandably distraught. He whispers to Virgil that he doesn’t want demon company to the next bridge. He trusts Virgil alone.What he’s really saying is that he doesn’t want become lunch.But Virgil reassures him; all their evil gesturing and ill will is for the sinners, not them.As they start walking, the demons turn into vulgar comedians. Barbariccia, the head demon, sounds the signal to set off: he farts loudly or, in poetic terms, makes “a trumpet of his ass.”

        from: https://www.shmoop.com/inferno/canto-xxi-summary.html

        • ANZAC Friend says:

          “Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
          “There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
          See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
          They are waiting on the shingle – will you come and join the dance?

        • Kick the darkness says:

          Another level removed, at the bottom, frozen in the lake of ice, are the traitors.  Upon admittance, they get to rid the escalator all the way down.

          • orionATL says:

            yes. and spend eternity on ice with satan.

            it’s enough to make a guy wish for an indictment, trial, and conviction with a mere 20-year sentence :)

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Chuck Ross should pay for Papa’s lawyers.

    It looks as if Papa has already lost any goodwill he might have had with prosecutors.  He’s in the barrel now and his spouse is getting scared.  Something tells me neither knows what’s in store for them, but then that’s what makes movers and shakers pick them as patsies.

    I’m not sure that having Papa’s wife do all the public speaking absolves Papa of the claim to limit who he talks to.  A direct plea for a pardon would seem to be communicating with Donald Trump, as well as an offer to comport any court testimony to that which might improve his chances of a pardon.

    Trump seems as likely to give Papa a pardon as he is to donate real money to this blog.  To Trump, he’s a sheep meant to be sheared.

    • bmaz says:

      He was well on his way to a no time sentencing. And he and his new wife shat that into the wind. Rule Number One in cooperating with the Feds is don’t be an idiot. Papa and Simone just couldn’t help themselves apparently. For One Million Dollars, I would represent this moron though. Even better if that cluck Chuck Ross pays it.

          • Trip says:

            @bmaz, is this length of time in deliberation normal for a case like Manafort’s, or does it seem like the jury might be having disagreements?

            If there is a hung jury, would the case go back to Ellis, on a retry?

            • bmaz says:

              Yes. You just do not know, and it is a VERY document intensive case. I once had a jury out for longer than the actual trial. Let them do their work.

            • Bob Conyers says:

              The one time I served on a jury it was four or five charges, pretty cut and dried, nothing high stakes. Only a couple of witnesses, barely any evidence to review. It still took quite a while to work through things. People wanted to be sure they understood the charges, and some people got hung up on one charge trying to understand a definition.

              The Manafort case has a ton more evidence to review and more charges to consider.

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                And 32 charges. In past half hour, jury sent a note to judge Ellis. Some are hoping that it may be a request for dinner because they are almost done.

                My optimism for no lunch, completely unfounded.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Perhaps they’ve been persuaded that it only takes one true-believer magahat in a jury to get a mistrial, even in DC. That’s not where I’d be placing my money.

        (But it’s where I’m more inclined towards the English practice of allowing 11-1 or even 10-2 majorities, though that’s tied up with sub judice, no per-trial jury selection and other non-transferable principles.)

  6. Thomas says:

    A few days ago, I noticed that my connection to MSNBC was being reported “NOT SECURE” by my machine. I thought I worked out a fix. I removed all cookies, typed in the address with the https prefix and…voila! Secure connection. That has worked for a couple days.

    Today, the number of cookies has tripled, and after I remove them, they instantly reappear. I cannot access the secure connection. I strongly believe they are under attack. Some of those cookies may be spearfishing links.

    If anyone here knows how to look into this, please do. I believe Donald Trump’s recent comments to be a message to the Russians to attack the media, similar to what happened when he made a public plea to the Russians to hack Clinton, and then Clinton was hacked that very day.

    • Charlie says:

      Download Mozilla’s Firefox which blocks ads, analytic, content and social tracking then use DuckDuckGo search engine. Also VPN…

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      One thing to note: nbcnews.com does not have the problem, and there is a lot of articles in common. But some not.

      Also, when you first noted the problem, others also reported that video streaming quit working.

      So, yes, it does look like an attack.

  7. Trent says:

    @ew Are you sure the plural of Papadopoulos is Papadopouloses?

    I’m thinking Papadopouli, or Papadopoulae (since he’s Greek) or maybe Papadopoulise would all be preferable.  Your version has too many damned syllables.

    • bmaz says:

      Understand, that is as framed by Danny Abrams, and his little shithead outfit. I’d pull back and take a deep breath.

    • Trip says:

      if it turns out that the FBI has undertaken such efforts and has verified any of the claims, thereby embarrassing President Trump politically, the president will have no one to blame for that revelation other than himself.

      That is because Trump, himself, declassified the Nunes and Schiff memo.

  8. Thomas says:

    The attack on MSNBC seems to coincide with the Omarosa story.

    I tried looking up some of those cookies. I think a few are shady but I have no experience as a hacker or security expert.

    sofia.trustx.org won’t let you look at their site. Several of the others trace back to hosting servers and there is NO information about who they are or what they are.

    The most interesting find: scorecardresearch.com, who tried repeatedly to send me spearfishing links. They are, apparently? a tool of markmonitor.com, which is an entity owned by clarivate analytics, which claims to be an analytics company serving the fortune 100 and owned by the asian branch of barings bank and check out that story! LOL. If any of that is remotely true then why are they relentlessly trying to hack me?
    I have taken precautions and now I’m just going to quit looking at it because I have no need of harassment. If anyone here is game, go ahead and check out the cookies on MSNBC and also their NOT SECURE status. I think we may be seeing the opening salvo of an all-out attack on the media by Russian hackers.

  9. Frank Probst says:

    I’ve never been 100% convinced that Simona is doing all of this with her husband’s consent.  More like 90% sure.  I keep thinking about Kellyanne Conway’s husband here.  He routinely tweets things that could likely get her fired, given who her boss is, and I think that guy’s a lot smarter than Simona.  I think this latest round of bullshit probably started because the Mueller team gave George’s lawyers a heads-up saying that they’ll be recommending the he get some prison time.  (The lawyers can chime in as to whether or not this would happen, or if the recommendation is pretty much a complete surprise to the defendant when it is formally made.)

  10. SpaceLifeForm says:

    The Manafort jury is done for today.  They have questions.

    Is one required to file an FBAR if they own less than 50 percent of the company and no signatory authority?

    Define shell company.

    Can you redefine reasonable doubt?

    Can the exhibit list be amended to include the indictment?

    [The last question I find bothersome]

    • Avattoir says:

      Actually, I don’t find any of those questions either surprising or in the least illuminating.

      Qs from “the jury” as a whole typically are indistinguishable from Qs from one member of the jury. I can only recall ever seeing a jury Q specifically indicate its Q being from one jury member on two occasions, plus kind of a third when the judge answered the Q and one juror was heard turning to another and saying, ‘See? I told you.’

      Jury requests to provide help on what’s meant reasonable doubt are ubiquitous. It’s almost more of a surprise when a jury doesn’t try for that. And judges like Ellis, so perfunctory, imperious & almost incurious, simply increase the likelihood of a jury seeking more guidance.

      I don’t understand either the request to “exhibit” the indictment or getting at all anxious over it. The jury should have a copy of the indictment during deliberations, and for all we know someone particularly anal on the jury just want to give it a number.

      The Q about FBARs is totally unsurprising given Ellis’ inability to shut his big fat mouth, but moreover defense explored this in cross, and IAE we should be glad it was asked because it shows a flaw in at least someone on the jury’s understanding of what the testimony was.


      And on the bright side, these Qs do tend to show the jury was awake and interested.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Correction: (i read it as a typo)

      Define shelf company.

      A shelf company *is* a shell company.

      But, it has been sitting on the shelf.

      Hiding in the weeds.

      • Avattoir says:

        Not quite.

        A “shell” co is empty, including empty of stated purpose. It’s up to whoever gets it to fill in the aim(s). But one does have to be provided.

        A “shelf” co can be an agent of significant mischief, because the aims or purposes are already stated, from the prior owners, allowing the new owner some liberty in ducking, for at least a while (usually from the date of acquisition to its anniversary)  any regulatory requirement on the owners to state its aims. So what happens with shelfcos, a LOT, is they get used for a single purpose, typically as a hiding place, then get resold or resorbed back onto the shelf, for the next potentially malconceived abuse.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A shelf company is a legal entity set up ahead of time and kept as inventory “on a shelf” by a law or accounting firm to sell to a client.  It can be used for any business purpose allowed by the local jurisdiction.

          A shell company can be a shelf company or one more recently set up.  They are often conduits set up in a secrecy jurisdictions to hide the nature of their business and the identity of their owners.

          A bit of detail:

          A shelf company’s charter is usually very broad.  In the US, that’s anything that’s not illegal, barring a few regulated industries such as banking.  In some jurisdictions, the standard scope of authority is narrow, but the charter can be amended to suit the client.

          In exceptional jurisdictions, such as China, which has a tightly regulated economy, the scope of business is usually narrow; changing or expanding it can be time consuming and require considerable networking.

          In many jurisdictions, a new company can be set up in an hour.  In others, it might take a day or week or months.  Some clients prefer shelf companies, because they are immediately available and appear to be more substantial, in that they have existed longer.

          Shell companies are often used in series, so that there are layers of cut-outs, set up in multiple jurisdictions, to hide the owners, their business purposes, and their tax liability.  As avattoir says, they are often special purpose vehicles established for a narrow purpose, but as many as are needed can be strung together.

          Mickey Cohen was unusual in using one LLC for so many questionable activities.  Then again, the Don has always been cheap.

          • Rusharuse says:

            For people with low IQ, limited education, high “N” and no executive function –

            #1. held to your ear you can hear the tide changing. #2. Can be placed in the cupboard disguised as a box of fruit loops!

          • orionATL says:

            these are useful distinctions to know.


            i think i am beginning to really like the way china manages corporations. :)

            i remember making a comment to this effect here some years ago re american corps being out of control. must be my essential authoritarianism peeking out. :)

          • orionATL says:

            i recall now from the panama papers disclosures a couple of years ago that the law firm mossack-fonseca used to create those “shelf” companies, dummy companies created and legally registered without any corporation being involved, and then left them “on the shelf”, like bottles of wine in a cellar, for years. the beauty of this form of corporation or hyperrich scheming/avoidance was that these shelf corporations, when activated years later, would appear to have been operating for all those years the dummy paper entity was merely sitting on the shelf, making tracking one down for, say, tax purposes much harder.

            this type of conduct must be added to the bill due american citizens from american corporations for their their self-centered, anti-society, congressional-bribery, information-distortion activities over the last 45 years.

  11. Trip says:

    The extraordinary bias of the judge in the Manafort trial
    During the trial, Ellis intervened regularly, and mainly against one side: the prosecution. The judge’s interruptions occurred in the presence of the jury and on matters of substance, not courtroom conduct. He disparaged the prosecution’s evidence, misstated its legal theories, even implied that prosecutors had disobeyed his orders when they had not.

    Under the Code of Conduct for U.S. judges, a judge is supposed to be fair and impartial, as well as “patient, dignified, respectful and courteous” to those in his courtroom. The rule’s concern is as much about the appearance of justice as its reality. If the judge violates that rule and a defendant is convicted, there may be a trial remedy — an appeal.

    But there will be no appeal available to address Ellis’s anti-prosecution bias if Manafort is acquitted by the jurors….


    • Avattoir says:

      WaPo’s actually not doing particularly good service there. Ellis was bad, but not HORRIBLE bad, borderline abusive but he almost always backed off. As he himself said at one point, they made a mistake appointing him (recognizing his temperament problem).

      Really, there are way, way, way worse examples of judicial intemperance than the display Ellis put up in this case. It’s mainly just that there were millions of eyeballs reading about it. I’d actually CHOOSE to appear before Ellis than taking a chance of drawing one of the ridiculous weirdos, whackoids, defectives & reprobates the Trump-McConnell-Grassley machine has been shoving thru the nomination-consent assembly line.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah. In state courts, we have pretty free allowance of juror questions, including in the case in chief. Is run through the trial judge or course, and not all get propounded, but still. They ask usually smart questions, but not always. But I have never seen a reasonable doubt instruction immediately expanded anywhere beyond the agreed upon closing instruction language. Never. And when so, only per a standard Allen instruction.

      • Ollie says:


        ” one of the ridiculous weirdos, whackoids, defectives & reprobates the Trump-McConnell-Grassley machine has been shoving thru the nomination-consent assembly line.”


        This right here has worried me almost more than anything else that f’ing moron has done so far in office.  I mean if I had to chose it’d be tough settling on ‘the worse’ but filling those judicial seats will be a horror that just keeps on giving long after this a’hole is gone.


        It’s like when the Koch boys started years ago to infiltrate school boards around the country.  That action by them damaged so much: public schools and the push to privatize, change history books (you’d be hard to find anything about the gigantic oil spill in Louisiana by the pigs BP.  I think the Koch’s are a big part in why the GOP (which I’ve never been) are the self serving monsters who serve party (to their understanding) and forget.about.it country be damned.

        • Avattoir says:

          I am, sadly, unable to disabuse you as to the validity of any of the concerns you’ve expressed here.

          However: this isn’t much a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m afraid, but I actually am personally familiar with a limited number of former classmates and/or colleagues who, despite academic experiences and careers spent in effectively proving their unsuitability for service as judges, managed to draft into lifetime sinecures behind some fortuitous choice in donation or support.

          The not-quite-as-bad-as-conceivable news is that, as a group, these folks once in position as judges tend to exhibit a fairly high degree of laziness, cowardice, absence of principles, and views one way or the other on The Rule of Law. IOW a lot of them act like the blobs they are, and, ASSUMING the system as a whole is functioning properly, in many instances the potential harm they might be able to manifest gets minimized by systemic momentum.

          Here’s an illustration, taken from recent public experience with which you and everyone here are familiar: the issue of challenges to Mueller’s appointment.

          The first judge to write an opinion on this issue was Jackson, who’s a real judge. At least two of the judges who’ve been called on to write opinions since on the same issue, Ellis and Friedrich, would fall within the general category of In A Non-corrupt Process Within A Just Nation Truly Under Rule of Law they’d probably not get appointed. But regardless, both issued their opinions AFTER Jackson. So, Jackson’s opinion could well function as a model and challenge, which a judge who, left to their own devices, might write off some kooky notions, is now faced with having to match up with another judge they know is smarter and better. That CAN serve as something of a disincentive to dissent, especially where the judge is sitting in a district where the Circuit Court of Appeals is packed with smarty-pants types appointed by Clinton and Obama (as, for example, is the case in D.C.).

          But as time goes on, unless the Trump-McConnell-Grassley unholiness gets cut off, or at least leavened, the system is bound to break down. Two years isn’t enough time to do that, but 4 years certainly can be and 8 years of it would turn the institution into the March Hare’s Mad Tea Party.

          • Ollie says:

            Good Lord.  What a brilliant comment Avattoir.

            I was multi.tasking this am: listening to WJ and reading your response to me.  Well.  I had to pause WJ and give all of my ‘focus’ to your comment.  I had NO IDEA I had gotten so lazy in my mental capacities, lol.  I had to  ‘uh hum…well now….sitting up straighter’ and I laughed.  (Mental image of a less than qualified judge trying to rise to intelligence level of /smarty pants judges.  It’s the Checks and Balances that are really under attack in our country and as you stated,  if TMG (unholy trio) get ‘owned’ or if left unchecked could possibly destroy any resemblance of a democracy.

            I loved Civics in HS.  Loved it.  It was like learning of a 3.D engine that functioned perfectly as long as all parts were holding their own.  The fine lines have gotten smooth/blurred and are putting a strain on this Republic.  Everyone’s drank the ‘blue/green owsley (pre illegal days in Laguna Bch) but they’re having a very bad trip.  Ignorance is as scary to me as drunks are.  Unpredictable and loud and thrive in the gang bang mentality.  Parents have told me they don’t teach Civics anymore.  Facepalm.

            Thank you so very much for your replying to me.  I’m not ashamed of it but I am really intimidated here w/all the brain power, lmao.  Nothing any of you are doing…..I’ve really gotten lazy in my brain power and I need to rise to the opportunity I get here each and every time I come’a callin’……..which is several times a day.   Thanks to the comments of you all I am feeling more sound.  Thanks again Avattoir


        • Watson says:

          If the Mueller investigation produces findings that Russia and/or other foreign actors in concert with Trump operatives illegally interfered in the 2016 election, and if/when the Dems gain control of Congress, the Dems should legislate that the 2016 presidential election result is null and void, that either HRC is deemed president or a do-over is required, and that all Trump appointments, judicial and otherwise, are null and void.

          • Ollie says:

            I can’t see that ever happening.  Also?  I think there are just too many citizens out there who’ve surrendered their intelligence, reasoning and critical thinking to ever, ever let that happen.  My total hope lies in the kids just becoming eligible to vote doing so in a responsible, informed mass.  I didn’t much support pres O saying ‘we are not going to prosecute but move forward’ to all those financial crooks but in this case?  Move forward.

            Our survival is going to happen, IMO, w/the new voters.  Those horrific shootings will have something squeezed out of that negative and that’s a true, deep desire to establish a collective push for equal representation again.  God bless those up and coming young Americans.

            Until we get Citizens United overturned and go back to public funding, I don’t have hope in either party.  Thanks Watson for your thoughts.

  12. Bruce Olsen says:

    Why does this not mean Trump has offered a pardon to Mr. and Ms. P? Seems like the simplest explanation: go to trial to divert Mueller’s resources and possibly learn something.

    And very Trumpian not to pay for counsel ;-)

  13. orionATL says:

    there is a lot of very detailed description of chuck ross commentary in this post. it must have taken some time to do the outline of points it includes and then fill them in. one of its benefits is it deconstructs (not a word i like, but it fits) ross’ reporting in fine detail with accompanying corrections.

    i don’t have any trouble now believing ross was spinning a tale, but it really is an open question as to whether he is deliberately deceiving or not. if he did nor know law well (which is certainly possible) , was not guided by a careful, experienced editor (which is certainly possible), and was not himself well-trained/experienced (or well-motivated) in checking facts against other facts (which is certainly possible), then he might come up with the concoctions ew has delineated here and believe them true.

    when you are getting lots of pats on the back from everywhere in your social universe (as i imagine is happening to ross), there is little incentive but integrity (or fear of some demonic reckoning some dark time :)) to compell you to self-check like your arithmetic teacher use to warn you to do, but you were too impatient.

    as for the poor wife, love is blind. i do wonder, though, if her husband is using her as a front, e. g.,

    “… And finally, Ross indulges Simona’s fantasy of spinning the approach from Sergei Millian (pretending this approach was out of the blue, rather than something discussed with Ivan Timofeev in one of the Facebook communications Papadopoulos tried to hide) as a second use of an informant rather than a pretty obvious part of Russia’s outreach to Trump and his surrogates, dangling a Trump Tower deal.. ”

    the guy does know and remember what he did, doesn’t he? at the very least, they both need to sit down and read some of what gov has written down about dear hubby. it would help too if they understood that the social world they are living in would just as soon swallow them whole in a bite as to take another breath.



  14. orionATL says:

    lots of folks here seem to be familiar with “the daily caller”. i was not.

    for those like me, here is some background:


    of particular interest to me were its flagrantly tax-avoiding business set up, its flagrantly right-wing rich-guy funding support, and its breattakingly flagrant assertion of being unbiased news. having read this, i doubt chuck ross even has an editor to look over his work; what reporter would need one in this setup?

  15. Tracy Lynn says:

    /*EW needs to start referring to herself as the Legendary Pottymouth News Foundation*/ Better that, than the real obscenity that is The Daily Caller Fdn!

  16. punaise says:

    “Papadopouli, or Papadopoulae …or maybe Papadopoulise”

    I’m going with Yabba-dabba-doae


  17. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thank you Marcy for your relentless pursuit of the truth. Also grateful for intelligent, witty commenters and the tireless Moderators who keep trolls at bay! Ratfckers beware…Legendary Potty Mouth and Indefatigable Truth Seeker has the con!

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