News Roundup

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Joe Wiseman has reached a civil settlement with Buncombe County that requires him to pay the county $150,000 related to his participation in bribery and kickback schemes with former county officials.  The settlement also requires Wiseman to provide testimony and otherwise cooperate in potential future prosecutions.  The Citizen-Times additionally notes that Wiseman recently reported to federal prison to begin serving the sentence resulting from his guilty plea earlier this year.  Keep reading for more news.

Pugh.  In other public corruption news, CBS Baltimore reports that former Baltimore Mayer Catherin Pugh pleaded guilty to several federal fraud and tax evasion charges this week after being indicted last week.  Among other things, an indictment in the case alleged that Pugh claimed her taxable income in 2016 was $31,020 when in fact it was $322,365, a discrepancy that reduced Pugh’s tax liability by almost $100,000.

Prison Drugs.  WRAL has a recent report that takes a look at the creative ways in which people attempt to smuggle drugs into the state’s correctional facilities.  Some approaches are basic, such as simply throwing a duct-taped football filled with drugs over a fence, while others are more complex, involving convincing camouflage.  The report goes on to note that a significant portion of the state’s offenders who were subject to drug tests over a seven-month period tested positive for drugs, with a statewide rate of 10%.  The piece includes a breakdown of rates of positive tests at various North Carolina facilities.

[Update: A helpful reader pointed out an error in the original report regarding the rates of positive drug tests in North Carolina facilities.  While the report originally said that 10% of all offenders statewide tested positive, in fact 10% of the portion of offenders who were tested during a seven-month period had positive results.  The entire offender population was not subject to testing over the examined period.  Over the seven months of data used by WRAL, approximately 24,000 offenders were tested and approximately 2,400 tested positive.  This post has been updated to reflect that correction.]

Guards Charged.  Two guards who worked at the Manhattan jail where Jeffrey Epstein was in pretrial detention were charged this week with falsifying prison records of the night Epstein committed suicide.  It is alleged that the guards were doing various non-work activities online and sleeping while on duty.  Security camera footage apparently shows that the guards did not at any point enter the wing where Epstein was held on the night he died.  The New York Times story notes that the jail, like other detention facilities around the country, has been short staffed.  One of the guards was working a 16-hour double shift and the other volunteered to work after already putting in overtime earlier in the week.

Prince Andrew.  In a story related to Epstein, the Times also reports that Britain’s Prince Andrew announced this week that he would step down from his public duties because of the  public outrage stemming from their friendship.  The Times says that Andrew gave an interview last weekend where he was perceived as lacking sympathy for Epstein’s victims and offering unpersuasive denials of sexual misconduct.

Gallagher.  In a rare situation where an administrative review board hearing is drawing national attention, NPR has a report on an upcoming hearing concerning whether Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher should be removed from the Navy SEALS following his conviction earlier this year of a military offense related to posing in a photograph with the corpse of an Islamic State captive.  Gallagher was acquitted of murdering the captive.  President Trump has tweeted his position that the Navy will not remove Gallagher from the SEALS and the Navy apparently is waiting for further guidance on the issue.

Drywall Technique.  Experienced drywall installers know that the task is best done while not wearing a shirt so that your clothes don’t get dirty.  A Utah woman, though, has found herself the defendant in a lewdness prosecution after her stepchildren saw her hanging drywall in her house while topless.  The Associated Press says that a judge is now considering her challenge to the constitutionality of the law.

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