The More Puzzling Inaction in SDNY: National Enquirer

As bmaz noted, SDNY released less redacted copies of warrants to search Michael Cohen’s property today, revealing many more details about Cohen’s negotiation of hush payments for Trump.

A lot of people are trying to figuring out how Trump and Hope Hicks avoided charges — the former for his very active involvement in campaign finance crimes, the latter for lying to the FBI. But an equally important question, I think, pertains to American Media Inc. AMI is a likely mention behind the first redaction in the redacted footnote where the government describes the disposition of the investigation.

After all, DOJ publicly announced in December that AMI — the parent company of the National Enquirer — had entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with DOJ in September 2018. And they were involved in both campaign finance crimes, the hush payments to both Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. So they should be mentioned in precisely that spot.

But that raises questions about why the mention should be redacted. While the AMI NPA is not readily available from a search on the main DOJ website (I believe it used to be), it still remains linked on SDNY’s site. It’s public.

And, frankly, the closure of this investigation is just as suspicious with respect to AMI as it is with Trump and Hicks. That’s because Jeff Bezos published records in February showing AMI threatening to publish details that would embarrass him that raised real questions about whether AMI was in violation of its NPA.

Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.

A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.

My lawyers argued that AMI has no right to publish photos since any person holds the copyright to their own photos, and since the photos in themselves don’t add anything newsworthy.

There were public reports at the time that SDNY was weighing whether these threats constituted a violation of AMI’s NPA. Those reports were all the more interesting as the National Enquirer exposure of Bezos’ affair seemed like a favor to Trump, who has long targeted Bezos.

If that references is to AMI, then it shouldn’t be redacted, as the fact of the NPA is public, even on SDNY’s own website. But if the entire investigation — including into AMI’s possible follow-up violations of its DPA — it would suggest DOJ was going easy on not just Trump and Hicks, but also Trump’s favorite rag.

51 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Add to that, this item which links (again) the Wikileaks dumps to Assange, and I’ll speculate that is why Ecuador kicked him out (and his cat). One wonders how long these streams of slime will ooze out before the MSM starts calling Kaiser Quisling for the quisling he is.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    If Dems win in 2020. Can the new Attorney General release everything and go after Barr’s arse?

    • bmaz says:

      Release everything? Probably not everything, some is truly highly classified. Go after Barr? Beyond unlikely, prosecutorial decisions are (yes, inexplicably) given absolute immunity.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        So, why are you a lawyer? You believe a cover-up is in play and the law protects these fuckers.
        Give up your law degree and go all in.
        We will vote you in?
        I’m truly disgusted at the bar.
        And that’s why I am having a few brewskis.

        • bmaz says:

          Screw that hyperbolic shit. Where do you think you, and this country, would be without lawyers that stand up for the Constitution? This is some serious jackass commentary you have laid down. Don’t pull that with me. Seriously, take that shit elsewhere. I am too tired for this emotional and ignorant bunk.

          • bmaz says:

            Also, too, BSL “why am I a lawyer”? If you don’t know by now, after over 12 years of interaction, and still cannot ante in with better shit than questioning what I do for a living, again, go straight to hell.

            • Democritus says:

              Hang in there, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and reminding us about what is proper constitutionally even when with cases like Nader etc hen we don’t want to hear it.

              That’s when it’s most important but hold to the rules. When it is emotionally charged and reason and logic is ignored.

              Plus it’s Friday, go have a drink or catch a show or whatever you do to unwind and recharge. It’s been and ugly week and we need to take care of ourselves so we can keep our heads on straight.

              God I hope I don’t sound like a twat, or even worse a twatwaffle!

              • bmaz says:

                Thank you sincerely, but do not worry about me. I’ll be fine and only lose sleep over real world clients. The rest, not so much.

          • Bay State Librul says:

            It’s not working BMAZ.
            Don’t take it personally.
            The legal system is in jeopardy.
            I wish you would come to grips with this reality.
            It has taken me years to believe it too.
            But it’s TRUE.

            • bmaz says:

              No. And I do take it personally. You do know jack shit abut the day to day “legal system”. You are not there and do not have a clue. I do NOT need to “come to grips with this reality”, I actually live and practice that “reality” every day.

              I have no clue what your opinion is based on, but I will guarantee it is not any basis of knowledge as an attorney that does it day to day, and doubtful even a juror anytime in recent memory.

              • Bay State Librul says:

                Of course, I’m not an attorney.
                I’m an accountant/auditor.
                All I’m saying is that the law is failing me and probably others.
                You are a fine and decent lawyer, but whattabout Jay S and Barr, and Dersh, and all those other fuckers who use the law to protect the President.
                There needs to be a reckoning.

                • vicks says:

                  It’s not the law that’s failing you.
                  It’s society, as long as the rich and powerful are allowed to to run the world in ways that serve their self interest, the wannabe’s will be willing to do whatever it takes to work their way up that ladder. Those deemed the most useful, like lawyers, bankers, politicians, just get more personal invitations to jump to the front of the line.

              • OldTulsaDude says:

                In your opinion based on your experience, is this nation still based on the rule of law? I ask as it seems we are seriously losing our way and in jeopardy of losing the republic.

              • Tom S. says:

                BSL has not been cordial to me and insulting the host here is not a discussion spurring strategy. I believe oversight of legal practice is local because who knows better than the colleagues of local and state attorneys and judges? My hope is to engage BMAZ in an area of discussion where he is the expert, compared to the rest of us. My theory is the IRE Report issued in early 1977 may have circled some wagons that have been parked since. I read regularly and slightly participate here because of the value (public service) contributed by MW, BMAZ, Rayne, and Ed. I was ignored once before when I asked BMAZ about a component of this in another thread,
                (disbarment of ) because I genuinely want to know his level of awareness, even if he prudently limits his responses to his awareness.
                Marley, Hensley bros., (McCain background research) the IRE associated mention of Bentley, nonIRE, much later Str0jn1k, and the details in the new url I included in my sig… I came into this from literally 2200 miles away; having not set foot in AZ since 1972, IOW, I should not be aware of much of what I put into this post. I believe BMAZ is victimized by this history and recent doings than I am. But the system seems to have treated a guy (his obit is linked above) who provided me pro bono advice and some support, gone to his grave broken. Is it remotely because of the none McCain associated names I included above? ….Part of my motivation in posting in this thread is to remind BSL it is complicated. I hope all posters agree BMAZ knows best. I also hope I have gotten his attention and I end with, BMAZ, you have me email addr.

                • bmaz says:

                  I am not “victimized” by anything. If, and when, I actually am, or even may be, I will let you know.

                  • Tom S. says:

                    BMAZ I appreciate your reply. I spell it Str0jn1k because the guy now in the grave gave me a heads up 18 years ago and I haven’t kept up on the outcome resulting from the reporting in my sig link. IOW, I didn’t search for updates to confirm it is now safe to come out of the water.

                  • Bay State Librul says:

                    Let me end this discussion, by saying this: Any person with a wit of sense, who has read the Cohen/Trump
                    payoff knows what happened. It was hush money to silence the truth. All this fucking legal bullshit/jargon is beyond the pale. I know it, you know it, and BMAZ knows it. They are playing around with reality and the truth. Let’s be honest, even Mueller knows the truth but can’t even muster the strength to tell it like it is. It is all so obvious. I apologize if I have hurt any one’s feelings but for heavens sake, we all know the truth and the legal implications.

                • bmaz says:

                  To best of my recollection, I have not heard nor known of Augustine before. I do not recall his name in relation to the Don Bolles murder case. It has been quite a while now, but that is a case I know quite well. And the why I know it well is why I won’t say much about it. Though pretty much all the principals in it are dead now.

                  For what it’s worth, the IRE had their yearly convention here in 2017, and I went for a couple of the days. They are very much still a vibrant thing, though there is no evidence of a concerted mass effort like the Phoenix Project was.

                  • Tom S. says:

                    Article link= my sig:
                    Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona) 16 Mar 1977, Wed Page 1 (3rd column of article, bottom para,) ….Two key men were Warren associates A****** K***** and Burt0n Bent1ey …..
                    ( I liked to know as much as I could about who wss mugging me, even from 2200 miles away…) Augu$tine sent a letter to their notary in 2001, after I ascertained via my ex-wife’s lawyer in Oakland County, MI where she resided at the time, that she had not appeared before that notary in the state of AZ, as Bent1ey and his c1ienr, G.C., who I expect you have heard of, had submitted to the Fed. C0urt in Ph0enix… that notary ignored Augu$tine’s letter requesting she make available to him, her log supporting my ex’s alleged appearance before her, because it had never happened. My ex, at the instruction of her attorney, reluctantly provided a locally (in state of MI) notarized affidavit to me stating she had never set foot in AZ, to that point in time. This did not involve a marital dispute, just an imaginative scheme to persuade a Fed. judge to take property of mine via fraudu1ant court pleading n a suit I was intentionally not served any notice of, by design…. They filed in the initial suit a justifying accusation I had commited a bad faith act by registering the property they sought in the suit, via a then defunct corp. with officers of record unfamiliar to me…IOW impersonating an unauthorized officer of said defunct corp. When I became aware of the judge’s order (a default, with a $100k judgment against my neighbor who had a diff. middle name) I think I embarrassed my ex’s lawyer when I faxed him my then active corp. charter of my Delaware Corp. I am dense in that I assumed the discip1inary action filed against Augu$tine not long after, was entirely coincidental until I did an occasional search to check if his practice privileges had ever been restored…and I sadly learned he had passed.

                    • bmaz says:

                      I do not know what your weird symbols in text are or mean. I am not going to go further. Stop.

      • Jackknife of Sarlona says:

        My first post here. Thank you to Marcy, the other writers and mods, and most of the regulars who comment here. I can’t quite follow everything, but I learn a lot here.

        I have a question, if it’s not too stupid or annoying to answer. You said that prosecutorial questions are given absolute immunity, so Barr is safe. But could an incoming AG choose to prosecute the obvious crimes seen today that the DOJ won’t charge. If the Statute of Limitations hasn’t expired, anyway.

          • timbo says:

            I’m a bit confused here myself. What specifically does he have absolute immunity from? >Any< prosecutorial decision as AGOTUS?

      • Jockobadger says:

        How about Venmo, bmaz? Or is that not allowed because it’s not a person-to-person transaction? It sure is an easy way to send money to someone. I use it all too often to send tuition/spending $. Just a thought. Thanks

  3. pseudonymous in nc says:

    There is, I suppose, a chance that the two redactions refer to Individual-1, for whom the question of criminal liability while in office is still mooted by the OLC memo.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Marcy notes on twitter that Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia to replace Alex Acosta as Sec’y of Labor. [] The nomination is a striking “Fuck You” to American labor.

    Eugene Scalia is the son of arch-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He is a chip off the old block, but with rougher edges. He served as chief counsel for the Labor Dept during the BushCheney regime. One of his achievements was to torch long-planned national ergonomics standards.

    Widely adopted in Europe, ergonomics is the application of human physiology and psychology to the design, manufacture and use of products. It influences workplace safety issues, the human-machine interface, product design, lighting, sound levels, air quality, stance, posture. An important focus is avoiding repetitive stress injuries, be it from using a keyboard or gutting farmed fish all day in high-speed assembly lines.

    In the US, the practice of ergonomics is restricted. That’s thanks to top labor lawyer-lobbyists like Eugene Scalia. The circumstance is very like the absence in the US of the digital privacy laws that exist in nearly every other developed country.

    Workplace safety will plummet under Eugene Scalia as Sec’y of Labor. American workers and consumers will suffer more injuries and deaths owing to his priorities. Scalia’s appointment might be the one thing that Jeff Bezos and Donald Trump could agree on.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        It’s worse than that. As the Gaslit Nation gals pointed out, Trump appoints people specifically to trash the agencies they’re heading up, e.g. Betsey Devos, who doesn’t believe in public education.

    • General Sternwood says:

      I went to school with Gene at Lab. Trust me, Gene is absolutely the kind to “trash” the department, but unfortunately is smarter than DeVos or a bunch of the other appointees/acting appointees.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Patrick Caldwell on Eugene Scalia’s track record, from 2014: Did You Know That Antonin Scalia’s Son is Sabotaging Wall Street Reform?

      Gene is an all rounder promoting extreme corporate interests. What could go wrong in putting him in charge of the Labor Department?


  5. Eureka says:

    Checking in over at Trump’s EPA, the agency just declared that it would not ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, as had been planned by the Obama admin in 2015 due to reports of impaired brain development in children and other health problems (Pruitt put the kibosh on this in 2017 before it had taken effect; groups challenged Pruitt’s reversal in court. Today the EPA had to declare-or-not the ban; more legal challenges will follow, and plaintiff consumer groups plan to ask 9th Circuit to expedite). Hawaii banned it in 2018; NY and CA are considering bans.

    Besides the related news last week– in terms of perceived or potential harm– on “broad use” approval for sulfoxaflor and risk to bees and other pollinators (—> bye, living earth), and old news re the lack of an asbestos ban, etc., this story highlights an especially perverse way that they are choosing to ignore science. This, too, is a Pruitt Special coming to fruition: EPA will ignore studies (in effect, on humans), unless they can have the raw data (read: often collated from private health records). (I do not trust Trump appointees with access to any person-data to maintain anonymizing. How readily folks can be identified by very scant health info and a zip code, or less, is a whole separate topic…):

    From Lisa Friedman at NYT:

    The E.P.A. decision is also one of the first concrete results of a separate Trump administration effort to restrict the use of scientific studies involving human subjects.

    Under Mr. Pruitt, the agency proposed a rule saying it could not consider scientific research unless the raw data behind it was made public, saying the issue was a matter of transparency. Scientists argued that studies measuring human exposure to pesticides and other chemicals often rely on confidential health information and argued the E.P.A.’s real motivation was to restrict the ability to develop regulations.

    In opting not to ban chlorpyrifos, the E.P.A. rejected a major study conducted by Columbia University on its effects on children in New York City. The E.P.A. said because it was unable to obtain the raw data and replicate that study, which linked the insecticide to developmental delays, it could not independently verify the conclusions.

    (internal links removed)

    Note: “private chemical industry studies” were cool for allowing broad use on the bee-harmer (AP via SF Gate below).

    And this isn’t even getting into what’s been going on over at the Dept. of Ag. (see Politico below).


    E.P.A. Won’t Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems

    Hiroko Tabuchi: “The Competitive Enterprise Institute just released a statement claiming “EPA Wise to Reject Activists’ Proposed Chlorpyrifos Ban Based on Junk Science” (FALSE – not junk science) We wrote last week on how CEI is funded by big corps like @Google & @Amazon (links to the below)”

    Following the Money That Undermines Climate Science

    EPA restores broad use of pesticide opposed by beekeepers

    History Obama/Trump admin “emergency” limited use of sulfoxaflor and some court actions:

    Did the Trump EPA Invoke ‘Emergency’ Rules to Allow Use of a Pesticide Harmful to Bees?

    Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change

    • Eureka says:

      Turns out Rachel Maddow did a segment (“The Scientific Method”) ~~ on these topics tonight– I will have to catch the Saturday rerun, but partway through did glance something about the honeybees onscreen and something re the USDA events as well. If you thought my comment was long… but seriously, these are topics best suited to the long-form attention that she gives on her show. Culturally-induced ADD be damned.

  6. CD54 says:

    Absent saving Pecker/AMI for a post-Presidency prosecution I don’t get it either. Show us the dated receipts. What did you ‘buy’ for any such NPA? (Maybe ongoing re: the safe full of secrets — just not now with this AG?)

  7. Bay State Librul says:

    Full disclosure

    I audited a medical marijuana company yesterday, and wish that I had taken a bribe. Cannabis comes in all content and sizes, from cookies, capsules, drinks, gummies, lozenges and tinctures. I could have used a dose, because when I returned home I started to read the story of the Cohen/Trump/Hope cover-up.

    It made me crazy. I turned into a mad man and I took out my frustrations on the law, the legal community and poor BMAZ.

    It was a rant.

    “A rant by its nature says more than it needs to,” Peter Orner remarks. Orner was talking about short stories but it rung a bell with me.

    He goes on to say, “I refuse to grovel, to attempt to put into words what will always be unsayable, which is to say that what makes certain stories reach into your chest cavity and rip out what is left of your heart needs not be discussed. It is itself all the justification a story will ever need. The best offense being no defense at all. And so: none offered.”

    When I awoke this morning I said shit, I went off the reservation.

    Next time I rant, I will preface my remarks or ingest a gummie bear

    • OmAli says:

      BSL, your rant was pretty close to the way I felt, too. Still feel, tell the truth :(

      This situation is making a lot of us crazy.

      Pass the gummies, pleeze thankz.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        Yeah, the company had fan-damn-nastic internal controls.
        State of the art IT, heavily regulated, with revenue to the state and city, and peace of mind for their customers.
        Are they heading westward?

        • bmaz says:

          I would have no problem if they are. There are already companies up and running here. I just want it done smartly.

          I do not know the ones here personally, in any regard yet, but, if this is happening there, that is good, and I want it done here intelligently too. What you just said gives me hope that it may be.

  8. Rollo T says:

    It is sometimes difficult to practice law knowing that people in power like Trump, Barr, Scalia, Kavanaugh, etc are just educated street thugs. It’s easy to get disillusioned when you see the educated and powerful ignoring the rules and destroying valuable institutions. Especially when so many people bust their ass every day to make sure the rules are followed. The good people at all levels of society who do play by the rules are the glue that holds our fragile society together. People like Marcy and BMAZ are great examples. It’s what brings me to this web site–the ruthless pursuit of facts, truth and justice. Keep up the good work.

    • timbo says:

      Hmm. I think that what we must differentiate between a belief in the law and and deep understanding of what the law actually is… or seeks to be. When talking about the law, it is important to talk about the framework of the law. In the US, at least at the federal level, the law is reputedly based on the framework of the Constitution (and the understanding of common law practices at the times it was written or later modified). As such, it is an attempt to curb and/or mitigate the tendency of personal self-aggrandizement leading to a breakdown in the common law, while preserving as much personal liberty as seems fair and due to each individual in our society. That’s the ideal in the US. And we can see that at times that there have been extreme abuses of that ideal, not just now but in the past too. (As well as my current abuse of the English language. But there you have it.)

      It is sad that, yes, many of us are losing heart when it comes to what we are witnessing now with regard to our laws and the conduct of our legal system here in the US. But, it also stands to reason that if you believe that a system of laws are important then one must perhaps attempt to preserve the memory of conduct of a system of laws, the conduct a good government, so that it may again more easily rise to a better form once the current crisis/dark period has passed.

      And, now, I shall retire from crap lawsplaining… about something I have never been brave enough to undertake. Or overtake. Whatever.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      We must follow the path of the parts we play. Ours are aligned with others. Their names may be forgotten but their words and actions live on. And, so, our names may be forgotten but our words and actions may live on in how they impact others.

      Theodore Parker (August 24, 1810 – May 10, 1860) was an American whose words and popular quotations would later inspire speeches by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Social activists and authors, Betty Friedan and Kurt Vonnegut were also influenced by him.

      Here is something he said that was later paraphrased by and credited to others. It may sound familiar:

      “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

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