It was the suspected robber — not his victim — who was “covered in blood” when police got to an Oklahoma City crime scene early Sunday morning.
The robber, Bernard Eugene Laster, Jr., 42, and another man had knocked on a disabled 62-year-old man’s door on Aug. 12 asking for a drink, according to Oklahoma City police. The man, who was inside the apartment with a woman, decided to let Laster come in even though he didn’t know Laster before he knocked on the door.
But Laster wouldn’t leave the apartment when the man asked him to, the man told police. Instead, Laster whipped out a gun and attempted to rob the 62-year-old, according to police.
That’s when the 62-year-old fought back — reaching to get his hands on the gun and fighting the would-be robber over it, according to police.
Eventually the victim gained the upper hand and wrested the gun from the attempted robber. The gun fired once but didn’t strike anyone amid the chaos in the apartment, police said.
Once the victim had Laster’s gun in his hands, he wasn’t afraid to use it: He “pistol whipped the suspect multiple times,” police said.
The FBI has fired agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts.
Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.
“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said, adding in a statement, “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans.”
The FBI declined to comment.
The termination marks a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. In the twilight of his career, Strzok was integral to two of the bureau’s most high-profile investigations: the Russia case; and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
But when a Justice Department inspector general investigation uncovered politically charged messages that Strzok had exchanged with another FBI official, he was relegated to a position in human resources. Conservatives soon made Strzok the face of their attacks against the special counsel investigation into the president’s campaign, and the FBI took steps to remove Strzok from its ranks.
President Trump on Monday used Strzok’s firing to suggest the Russia investigation should be dropped, and the Clinton case redone.
“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!” he wrote.
Minutes later, he added, “Just fired Agent Strzok, formerly of the FBI, was in charge of the Crooked Hillary Clinton sham investigation. It was a total fraud on the American public and should be properly redone!”
On Monday, Strzok’s team launched a GoFundMe page with a lengthy statement to raise money for his “legal costs and lost income,” and said on the site that his firing was “apparently driven by political pressure.” Because Strzok is a senior-level FBI employee, and because the FBI’s No. 2 official directed his firing, he has few realistic avenues left to get back his job. It’s unclear if he plans to pursue legal action against the bureau.
The House hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok devolved into personal attacks, partisan exchanges and a perjury accusation. Here’s a look at the biggest moments. (Jenny Starrs /The Washington Post)
Strzok’s position in the bureau had been precarious since last summer, when the Department of Justice’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, told special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that the lead agent on his team had been exchanging anti-Trump messages with an FBI lawyer. The next day, Mueller expelled Strzok from the group.
The lawyer, Lisa Page, had also been a part of Mueller’s team, though she left a few weeks earlier and no longer works for the FBI. She and Strzok were having an affair.
Trump has previously derided the pair as “FBI lovers,” and he and his conservative allies have pointed to their conduct in an attempt to discredit the Mueller probe. On Saturday, before the firing was known publicly, Trump tweeted an attack on Strzok, Page and former FBI director James B. Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe.
“Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired?” Trump wrote on Twitter. “So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”
Strzok, who was a deputy assistant director for counterintelligence at the bureau, has apologized for sending the messages and said they reflected personal views that did not affect his work. His lawyer has said that had Strzok wanted to prevent Trump’s election, he could have leaked that Trump’s campaign was under investigation for possibly coordinating with Russia — a revelation that might have upended his bid to become president.
At a congressional hearing earlier this month, Strzok sparred with Republican lawmakers who raised questions about his character and even his marriage. He asserted there was “no evidence of bias in my professional actions” and that his having to testify was “just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart.”
Strzok was escorted out of the FBI building in June and effectively relieved of work responsibilities, though he technically remained an FBI employee as he and his attorney challenged the effort to dismiss him. On July 24, they made a final pitch to Candice M. Will, who leads the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
Goelman said Will ultimately decided that Strzok face a demotion and 60-day suspension and be subjected to a “last chance agreement.” That would have put him on thin ice if he were commit another offense. But Goelman said Bowdich overruled that decision and ordered Strzok’s termination.
During a June congressional hearing, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Strzok had been referred to the Office of Professional Responsibility — which he referred to as the bureau’s “independent disciplinary arm” — and that officials would “not hesitate to hold people strictly accountable.” Wray promised that process would be “done by the book.”
Strzok is the third high-ranking FBI official involved in the Clinton and Russia investigations to be fired amid an intensely political backdrop. Trump removed Comey as the bureau’s director and said he did so thinking of the Russia case. Attorney General Jeff Sessions later removed Comey’s deputy, McCabe, after the inspector general alleged he lied about a media disclosure related to Clinton.
McCabe — who, unlike Comey, could not be removed at the will of the president — has said his termination was a politically motivated attempt to undermine the Mueller probe. He is currently facing a criminal investigation by prosecutors in the District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
It is possible that others could yet face discipline. The inspector general identified five FBI employees, including Strzok and Page, with some connection to the Clinton email case who had exchanged messages expressing hostility toward Trump, support for Clinton or other political views. Each was referred to the FBI for possible violations of the bureau’s code of conduct.
Just for information today Scott McFarlane will be back in court in front of Judge Moody for arraignment, and preliminary hearing setting.
The hearing is scheduled for 1 o’clock and is unknown which court it is IN at this time. I will be there to report what happens by expected to be short.
Just as a reminder for anybody that may not know, Scott McFarland appeal to Judge Moody on the hold order by Judge Zuniga had been granted but the District Attorney’s Office refiled the charges the next day.
In addition, since this restarted his case all over again they were able to use a challenge to Judge Zuniga and had her excuse from the case, it was then referred to Judge Westbrook in department 10, and the District Attorney’s Office used their challenge against Judge Westbrook. It finally found the lap of Judge Moody who had originally dismissed the case against Walter Wells in the appeal.
So, there’ll be a report up tomorrow night in regard to what happens in court tomorrow but I expected to be a short hearing, but you never know.
A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.
The case of school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging glyphosate causes cancer. Monsanto, a unit of Bayer AG following a $62.5 billion acquisition by the German conglomerate, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.
The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers.
It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.
Monsanto in a statement said it would appeal the verdict. “Today’s decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews…support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson’s cancer,” the company said.
Monsanto denies that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, causes cancer and says decades of scientific studies have shown the chemical to be safe for human use.
Johnson’s case, filed in 2016, was fast-tracked for trial due to the severity of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system that he alleges was caused by Roundup and Ranger Pro, another Monsanto glyphosate herbicide. Johnson’s doctors said he is unlikely to live past 2020.
A former pest control manager for a California county school system, Johnson, 46, applied the weed killer up to 30 times per year.
Brent Wisner, a lawyer for Johnson, in a statement said jurors for the first time had seen internal company documents “proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer.” He called on Monsanto to “put consumer safety first over profits.”
Over the course of the four-week trial, jurors heard testimony by statisticians, doctors, public health researchers and epidemiologists who disagreed on whether glyphosate can cause cancer.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September 2017 concluded a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks and found the chemical not likely carcinogenic to humans. But the World Health Organization’s cancer arm in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”