News Roundup

According to WRAL and other sources, seven homes and one business have been damaged in six fires in Durham since July 2. The homes are all in the same area of town and were vacant at the time. Authorities believe the fires were intentionally set and are actively seeking information from the public about possible suspects. Read on for more criminal law news.

SWAT Officer Shot. Sticking with WRAL, this story reports that Robeson County SWAT team member Kevin Chavis was shot during a drug raid in Pembroke. He is expected to make a full recovery. The Sheriff credits a SWAT vest as likely having saved the officer’s life. According to the report, both suspects from the raid are in custody with $15 million bonds each.

Record-High Mass Killings. AP news reports that the number of mass killings in the U.S. has reached levels not seen since 2006. From January 1 to June 30th of this year, the country has seen 28 mass killings—defined as an event with at least four deaths, excluding the suspect. The killings have resulted in the deaths of 140 victims. These numbers are apparently a new high, edging out the previous record of 27 mass killings in the last six months of 2022.

Suspected Serial Killer Arrested. A number of media outlets report that police have detained a suspected serial killer in New York. Following the 2010 disappearance a young woman in Long Island, New York, police discovered the remains of four other women near a highway in Suffolk County. More human remains were discovered nearby in 2011, and police believe the suspect may be responsible for up to 11 unsolved killings in the area. The arrest is the product of investigation by a task force comprised of local, state, and federal officials formed in early 2022.

Indefinite Continuance Sought in Trump Records Case. This AP report details the latest filings in the national security records case against former President Trump. Defense lawyers have sought an indefinite continuance in the case pending resolution of all “substantive” pretrial motions. The request argues in part that additional time is needed for the defense team to obtain security clearances and review the allegedly classified materials involved. The Justice Department has opposed the request on multiple grounds, including that some of the Trump attorneys had not yet applied for such clearance.

Beddingfield Sentenced for Jan. 6 Attack. The N&O reports that North Carolina resident Matthew Beddingfield was recently sentenced in federal court to 38 months imprisonment for assaulting law enforcement during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Ten other North Carolinians have been sentenced to prison and a total of 30 state residents have been charged in relation to those events.

Jan. 6 Investigation Proceeding. In other Jan. 6 news, the criminal investigation into the events leading up to and surrounding the riot continues. Special counsel Jack Smith recently conducted a voluntary interview with former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani as a part of the inquiry. The New York Times reports that multiple witnesses, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, recently testified before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. as well. Investigators are apparently focusing on whether the former president knowingly lied about election fraud following the 2020 election.

DOJ Appeals Oath Keepers Sentences. We noted in a previous News Roundup that Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for seditious conspiracy relating to his role in the Jan. 6 events. That sentence was less than the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines recommendation and well below the 25 years prosecutors sought at sentencing. Prosecutors have appealed in Rhode’s and other codefendants’ cases, arguing that the sentences were too light.

Bar Committee Recommends Giuliani Disbarment. A D.C. Bar disciplinary committee has recommended that Rudy Giuliani be disbarred in the district for making frivolous and unfounded claims in court pleadings in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. This follows the suspension of Giuliani’s law license in New York state for similar misconduct. Giuliani contests the committee’s findings and plans to appeal the committee decision to the full disciplinary board.

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