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Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 2:22 PM
— Michael Flynn, former national security adviser for President Donald Trump, acknowledge in court last week that he had conversations with Russian officials during the transition period between the election and Trump’s swearing-in, then lied to the FBI about doing so.
According to charging documents, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about actions that took place after the election, during the transition.
While many have speculated that Flynn is a subject of the investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the documents do not allege collusion or conspiracy with Russian officials prior to the election. The documents instead refer to two discussions Flynn had with Russian officials in the months after the November 2016 election.
The first conversation involved Russia’s reaction to a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements. The other conversation concerned President Barack Obama’s executive order on Russian sanctions. According to Flynn, each time, “senior officials” on the Trump transition team directed him to convey certain information.
While Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, was charged with lying to the FBI, what he lied about – conversations with foreign governments during the transition – is covered by a two-century-old law called the Logan Act.
Here’s a look at the Logan Act and what Flynn’s legal jeopardy would be if he were indicted on suspicion of violating the act.
What is the Logan Act?
The Logan Act, (18 U.S.C. § 953) is a 218-year-old law that prohibits people outside of the US executive branch from interfering in U.S. foreign policy.
The law reads:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.
Has anyone ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act?
No one has ever been prosecuted under the Logan Act, though at least two people appear to have been indicted under the act.
Why isn’t someone who breaks the law prosecuted?
Most refer to the Logan Act as “dead letter,” or a law that remains on the books but is essentially not prosecuted. Some believe the law is unconstitutional – restricting free speech – and vague.
What have the courts said about the Logan Act?
Not much, since there have been no prosecutions under the act. Courts have commented on the Logan Act, and in 1964, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said of the Logan Act that there exists a “doubtful question with regard to the constitutionality of that statute under the Sixth Amendment. That doubt is engendered by the statute's use of the vague and indefinite terms, "defeat" and "measures." Neither of these words is an abstraction of common certainty or possesses a definite statutory or judicial definition.”
Should Flynn be worried about prosecution under the Logan Act?
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:50 PM
Judge Paul Byron ruled evidence that involves police body-camera video and surveillance video from inside the nightclub will be allowed in court.
The surveillance video shows Mateen walking around the club with a gun.
Salman’s trial is set to begin March 1.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:42 PM
The bank is now requiring customers to keep more money in their accounts to avoid a $12 monthly fee.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 9:01 PM
Michael Mann, 34, is wanted for aggravated burglary and domestic violence.
The latest incident involving Mann and the victim, who he has a child with, happened on Jan. 9.
Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 1:23 PM
— Years of research and a particularly strong winter storm has led a reporter in Alabama to what is likely the remains of the last ship to carry slave cargo from Africa to the United States.
Writer Ben Raines of al.com reported Tuesday that what is left of the slave ship Clotilda, “lies partially buried in mud alongside an island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, a few miles north of the city of Mobile. The hull is tipped to the port side, which appears almost completely buried in mud. The entire length of the starboard side, however, is almost fully exposed.”
You can see footage from the site of The Clotilda's wreckage, as well as hear archaeologists discuss the authenticity of the discovery here.— AL.com (@aldotcom) January 23, 2018
This is a major historical and genealogical development. Read the full story here: https://t.co/x7gwzWvPg2 pic.twitter.com/SkuKkXqyVU
The ship’s remains were discovered by Raines when the “Bomb Cyclone” winter system hit the eastern half of the country earlier this month. A confluence of strong systems created the storm that caused the tide in Mobile Bay to be especially low, Raines pointed out. The lower than normal tide better exposed what was left of the ship.
In the story, Raines says he documented the wreck with historical documents and photos – the remains rest in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, accessible only by boat – and took his findings to a team of archaeologists from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla.
The archaeologists agreed that Raines had probably found what was left of the Clotilda.
In the summer of 1860, the Clotilda brought 110 men, women and children from Africa to Alabama in violation of U.S. laws that banned international slave trade. The ship’s trans-Atlantic journey was the last recorded trip bringing human cargo from an African nation to the United States.
The expedition was financed by Timothy Meaher, a wealthy Mobile businessman who made a bet that he could sneak slaves into the country past forts on either side of the entrance to Mobile Bay, “under the officers’ noses.”
Meaher was able to hire a ship and captain to bring the slaves to Mobile, but fearing that he would be caught and punished for the stunt, Meaher arranged for the ship to be burned after he had the slaves unloaded.
Those 110 slaves who were brought over on the Clotilda were freed five years later at the end of the Civil War. They asked Meaher to pay for their return to Africa. He refused, and the group went on to petition the U.S. government for the money. When the government refused, the group took up residence near Mobile, creating the community of Africatown.
The town, according to historian Sylvianne Diouf in her book “Dreams of Africa in Alabama,” was run under traditional African law and used African farming and education methods. The last survivor of the Clotilda trip, Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis , died in 1935, though descendants of the slaves brought over on the ship still live in the area.
The story of the Clotilda was recently resurrected in an episode of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” hosted by historian Henry Gates. In a December episode, Roots front man and drummer Questlove – whose given name is Ahmir Thompson – finds out that his great, great, great grandfather, Charles Lewis, was one of the slaves brought to America on the Clotilda’s trip.
The charred remains of The Last Slave Ship (#TheClotilda) have been found. In short a bet was made to see if 110 Africans could be transported from West Africa to the US illegally (!!!) One of those 110 was my (& @Donn_T’s) GreatGreatGreat Grandfather https://t.co/pBAXfI1cMM— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) January 23, 2018
Gates tells Questlove that Meaher chose the more than 100 slaves from a group of 4,000 to be brought to Alabama. Lewis was one of those chosen.
"Think about the odds, man," Gates said.