News by Professionals 4 Professionals

oregon security guard

Probation sentence expected for Oregon refuge occupier Geoffrey Stanek

Geoffrey Stanek, who pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy last year in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, shouldn’t face a sentence longer than the probation given to three co-defendants who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, his lawyer argues. Stanek, 27, wasn’t at the refuge takeover from the start and didn’t stay until the end like co-defendants Sean and Sandra Anderson, who were among the final holdouts before their Feb. 11, 2016, surrender.

The two Andersons and co-defendant Dylan Anderson avoided a trial by pleading guilty to misdemeanor[1] trespass and were sentenced to one year of probation. The couple and Dylan Anderson aren’t related.

Geoffrey StanekMCSO

Sean Anderson made violent threats against law enforcement officers on YouTube during the last two weeks of the occupation, said Benjamin Andersen, Stanek’s lawyer. In contrast, Stanek left the property voluntarily after the occupation leaders were arrested on Jan. 26, 2016, his lawyer noted in a sentencing memo filed in court Wednesday.

“This court should impose a sentence no more severe than the sentences imposed on other defendants, some of whom have worse records and arguably have more culpability in the overall offense,” Andersen wrote.

Prosecutors have rejected defense requests to reduce Stanek’s conspiracy charge to a misdemeanor and will ask a judge to sentence him to two years of probation with six months of home detention. Stanek pleaded guilty on June 15, 2016, before occupation leaders Ammon Bundy, older brother Ryan Bundy and five others went to trial and were acquitted of all felony charges. Stanek’s plea also came before a second federal trial when a jury returned guilty verdicts on conspiracy charges against co-defendants Jason Patrick and Darryl Thorn and U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown found Patrick, Thorn, co-defendants Jake Ryan and Duane Ehmer guilty on additional misdemeanor charges. Stanek, who served in the Army, went to the refuge after learning about the occupation through a friend’s Facebook post, his lawyer said. He had a vague understanding of what it all was about and thought it was a “constitutional protest,” his lawyer’s memo said.

“A main reason he decided to go was that he believed the medic skills that he had learned during his time in the United States Army could be of use,” the memo said. “As he understood it from Facebook, the situation could escalate, and medic skills could be important.”

Once at the refuge, Stanek fell back on his military training, taking orders from the leadership, his lawyer wrote. Stanek told federal agents after his Feb. 11, 2016, arrest in Forest Grove that he was a member of the Oregon Three Percenters militia, prosecutors said during his plea hearing. Stanek said he brought an AR-15 rifle and a body armor vest to the refuge on Jan. 7, according to the government. There, he frequently performed armed guard duty in the watchtower and at the refuge entrances. He also drove an ATV belonging to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to block one of the refuge entrances, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel.

Stanek told FBI agents that those on guard duty had night-vision goggles, spotting scopes and binoculars, Gabriel said. Stanek left the refuge on Jan. 26, 2016, the day FBI agents and state police moved in to arrest the occupation leaders as they were driving off the refuge to a community meeting in John Day. When Stanek was arrested the next month, he was carrying a loaded Glock 9mm handgun, which appeared to match one he had at the refuge based on photographs examined, according to Gabriel. The government’s recommended sentence reflects that Stanek took responsibility for the offense early in the case, but also takes into account that he was armed and convicted of the felony to impede federal employees through threat, intimidation or force, prosecutors said.

Gabriel will ask the court to set additional probation conditions that Stanek “not occupy, reside on or camp in” any federal land or enter land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service without a probation officer’s approval. Stanek has no prior criminal history. He previously worked as a security guard and was in the process of becoming a firefighter when he went to the refuge last year, his lawyer said. He’s had trouble finding a job since his conviction, his lawyer said. Stanek is set to be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Monday by U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown.

Co-defendant Eric Lee Flores also is set to be sentenced Monday. Prosecutors are seeking two years of probation for Flores and five months on home detention because he served one month in jail during pretrial custody. His defense lawyer Ernest Warren Jr. also will argue that Flores face no more than one year of probation.

On June 9, 2016, Flores, 22, admitted he traveled to the refuge with guns [2]and did guard duty there in January as he pleaded guilty to the same federal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are continuing to negotiate restitution payments based on estimates of damage to the refuge during the 41-day takeover over federal management of public land. A hearing on the restitution costs is set for this fall.

— Maxine Bernstein

References

  1. ^ The two Andersons and co-defendant Dylan Anderson avoided a trial by pleading guilty to misdemeanor (www.oregonlive.com)
  2. ^ On June 9, 2016, Flores, 22, admitted he traveled to the refuge with guns (www.oregonlive.com)
  3. ^

Lakers pave way for Ball with Russell trade

LOS ANGELES Three people with knowledge of the deal say the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade point guard D Angelo Russell and high-priced center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for big man Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the upcoming draft. The Lakers new front office led by Magic Johnson has boldly decided to give up on Russell, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, after just two years. He averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists last season while Los Angeles struggled to its fourth consecutive losing record. The deal all but confirms Los Angeles will select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the draft Thursday, adding the gifted playmaker to run coach Luke Walton s up-tempo offense.

The Lakers also appear to be sacrificing Russell to clear the salary cap space eaten up by the final three seasons of the four-year, $64 million contract given to Mozgov by the previous front office. Although Mozgov performed reasonably well when given the chance last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds, the 7-foot-1 Russian didn t appear to fit into Walton s Golden State-influenced schemes. Mozgov and forward Luol Deng both got exorbitant free-agent deals from general manager Mitch Kupchak and decision-maker Jim Buss last July. Both were dismissed in February by owner Jeanie Buss, who hired Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka to return the 16-time champions to contention. Yahoo Sports first reported the deal.

If the Lakers continue to create salary cap room with other moves, they could be an attractive landing spot for free agents next season with the flexibility to offer two enormous contracts perhaps even maximum deals. Although the moves likely would require further abandonment of their rebuild around youth, Los Angeles also would still have wing scorer Brandon Ingram and Ball, the last two No. 2 picks in the draft. Howard headed to Charlotte

ATLANTA Dwight Howard s Atlanta homecoming was short-lived. The Charlotte Hornets have reached an agreement to acquire Howard from the Hawks.

The Hawks are sending Howard and the No. 31 overall pick in Thursday s NBA draft to Charlotte for center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick, a person familiar with the situation said. Howard will be playing for his third team in three seasons following a disappointing one-year return to his Atlanta hometown. Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Atlanta and then sat out the fourth quarter in two of six playoff games in the Hawks first-round loss to Washington.

Howard s averages with the Hawks 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds were close to his production in his last of three seasons with Houston in 2015-16. Still, he finished the season unhappy about his diminished role in the playoffs, when he averaged eight points and 10.7 rebounds.

It was very difficult. I want to play, Howard said after the season. Gasol will stay with Spurs

A person with knowledge of the situation said Pau Gasol will not exercise the player option on his contract for next year, but intends to sign a new deal with the San Antonio Spurs when free agency opens in July. Gasol declined the $16 million option on his contract on Tuesday. The 7-foot center made the move with the expectation of signing a new multiyear deal that will reduce his annual salary but give him more security.

More NBA[1] articles

References

  1. ^ NBA (registerguard.com)

Russia warns US after downing of Syrian warplane

MOSCOW Warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition operating over Syrian government-controlled areas west of the Euphrates River will be tracked as potential targets, Russia s Defense Ministry said Monday, a day after the U.S. military shot down a Syrian air force jet. Moscow condemned the downing of the Syrian jet after it dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that are fighting the Islamic State group in Syria s increasingly complicated civil war. The downing of the warplane the first time in the conflict that the U.S. has shot down a Syrian jet came as Iran fired several ballistic missiles at IS positions in eastern Syria in retaliation for two attacks by the extremists in Tehran earlier this month that killed 17 people.

Areas of northern Syria west of the Euphrates were controlled by IS before Syrian government forces captured most of them in recent months. The Russians appear to want to avoid further U.S. targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under U.S. attack in eastern Syria recently. Moscow also called on the U.S. military to provide a full accounting of why it decided to shoot down the Syrian Su-22. Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has been providing an air cover to the government s offensive since 2015.

But in April, Russia briefly suspended a hotline intended to prevent midair incidents with the U.S. over Syria after the American military fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government. The U.S. military confirmed that one of its F-18 Super Hornets shot down a Syrian Su-22 that had dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces SDF. Those forces, which are aligned with the U.S. in the campaign against the Islamic State group, warned Syrian government troops to stop their attacks or face retaliation. In comments to Russian news agencies, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov compared the downing to helping the terrorists that the U.S. is fighting against.

What is this, if not an act of aggression? he asked.

Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense and security committee at the upper chamber of Russian parliament, described the Defense Ministry s statement as a warning.

I m sure that because of this neither the U.S. nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft, he told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency. That s why there s no threat of direct confrontation between Russia and American aircraft. Ozerov insisted that Russia will be tracking the coalition s jets, not shooting them down, but he added that a threat for those jets may appear only if they take action that pose a threat to Russian aircraft. Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed opposition fighters said Assad s forces have been attacking them in the northern province of Raqqa and warned that if such attacks continue, the fighters will take action.

Clashes between Syrian troops and the SDF would escalate tensions and open a new front line in the many complex battlefields of the civil war, now in its seventh year. Clashes between the Kurdish-led SDF and Syrian forces have been rare and some rebel groups have even accused them of coordinating on the battlefield. Both sides are battling the Islamic State group, with SDF fighters focusing on their march into the northern city of Raqqa, which the extremist group has declared to be its capital. Government forces have also been attacking IS in northern, central and southern Syria, seizing 25,000 square kilometers (9,600 square miles) and reaching the Iraqi border for the first time in years.

SDF spokesman Talal Sillo said the government wants to thwart the SDF offensive to capture Raqqa. He said government forces began attacking SDF on Saturday, using warplanes, artillery and tanks in areas that SDF had liberated from IS. Sillo also warned that if the regime continues in its offensive against our positions in Raqqa province, this will force us to retaliate with force. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria s war, said government forces expanded their presence in Raqqa province by capturing from IS the town of Rasafa.

Iran s launch of its ballistic missiles against IS hit Syria s eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Sunday night and was its first such strike in the conflict. Previously, it has been providing crucial support to Assad s forces. Iran s powerful Revolutionary Guard said it launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan. Video on Iranian state TV showed the weapons on truck missile launchers in the daylight before the nighttime volley. The missiles flew over Iraq before striking what the Guard called an IS command center and suicide car bomb operation in Deir el-Zour, over 600 kilometers (370 miles) away. The extremists have been trying to fortify their positions in the Syrian city in the face of a coalition onslaught on Raqqa.

Syrian opposition activist Omar Abu Laila said two Iranian missiles fell in and near the eastern town of Mayadeen, an IS stronghold. There were casualties, said Abu Laila, who is originally from Deir el-Zour and currently lives in Germany, where he runs a website about the province.

The Islamic State group did not immediately acknowledge the attack. Iraqi lawmaker Abdul-Bari Zebari said his country agreed to the missile overflight after coordination with Iran, Russia and Syria.

Mroue reported from Beirut. The Associated Presss Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed.

More International[1] articles

References

  1. ^ International (registerguard.com)
1 2 3 204