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Hundreds of Jan. 6 Cases



Nineteen months after the Jan. 6 attack, hundreds of criminal cases that stem from it are playing out in court. They have been getting less attention than the Justice Department’s scrutiny of Donald Trump, but my colleague Alan Feuer has spent hours and hours watching these trials. This morning, he offers you a glimpse of them.

Ian: Who are the Jan. 6 defendants, and what are they charged with?

Alan: It’s a wide range. People from all 50 states have been prosecuted. Most are white men from middle- or working-class backgrounds, but there are also women, Hispanic people, Black people. A lot have military backgrounds. There are also professional people, which is unusual for an event involving far-right extremism: doctors, a State Department aide, business owners, people who flew there on a private jet.

Most have been charged with misdemeanors and have gotten little to no prison time. Others have been charged with assaulting police officers or damaging government property. And a few hundred people have been charged with obstructing Congress’ certification that day of the Electoral College vote. About 350 defendants have pleaded guilty, and more than 200 have been sentenced. About half a dozen have gotten four years or more, and two have gotten more than seven years.

The government is still arresting people, and prosecutors estimate around 2,000 could ultimately face charges.

The hearings open windows into defendants’ lives, many of which seem quite dysfunctional. You covered the trial of a defendant named Guy Reffitt, a Texas militia member whose own son turned him in to the F.B.I. and testified against him.

If someone is being criminally prosecuted, there’s often some dysfunction in their past. But I’ve been struck by how trauma rests at the center of so many of the Jan. 6 defendants’ lives, whether it’s poverty, addiction or deep family dysfunction. You also see defendants say things to the judge like, I’ve lost everything because of what I did on Jan. 6. My job has been taken from me. My neighbors no longer talk to me. My church has essentially excommunicated me. Please don’t send me to prison as well.

Hundreds of defendants are being prosecuted, all in federal court in Washington. How do you keep up?

Covid restrictions enabled remote access, which lets me jump from courtroom to courtroom with the push of a button and listen to multiple hearings over the phone in a day.

The big exception is trials. I’ve covered two in Washington in person — the Reffitt trial and the case against Dustin Thompson, an unemployed Ohio exterminator. Two seditious conspiracy cases — against members of the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, two far-right groups — will likely go to trial later this year, and I’ll almost certainly be in the courtroom for those. I prefer the courtroom. You pick up on body language and facial expressions that aren’t available when you’re just listening in.

How many Jan. 6 hearings have you listened to?

Hundreds. It’s not really countable at this point.

How did you become the reporter who covers these hearings?

I’ve covered courts and crime for over 20 years: murders, mafia and police corruption trials and the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo. I’ve also spent a lot of time covering far-right extremist groups. As I watched the Jan. 6 attack on TV, I actually recognized people in the crowd. As people started getting arrested, I did what I’ve always done: track documents and set up a database of the now 850-plus cases.

How are these cases different from other criminal proceedings?

On one level, the process is the same: Defendants get charged. Some plead guilty, some go to trial. People are acquitted or convicted. But the context is very different. Jan. 6 was a political action that became a federal crime, and politics infuses these cases. Some defendants have argued that they’re being persecuted for their political beliefs. Thompson’s defense was that Trump authorized him to go into the Capitol that day and that he was merely following Trump’s orders. That did not fly in front of a jury. I’ve never covered anything that’s taken place in an atmosphere as polarized as this one.

Trump seems to have motivated not only some Jan. 6 defendants to commit violence, but also people who have threatened the F.B.I. after agents searched his home, Mar-a-Lago, this month. Do you see parallels between the groups?

The Ohio man who attacked the F.B.I. field office in Cincinnati this month was, in fact, outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. The F.B.I. investigated his role in the riot but never arrested him.

In a larger sense, one researcher has found that 15 to 20 million Americans think violence would be justified to return Trump to office. We’ve seen this in the reaction to the Mar-a-Lago raid, but I’m also concerned about what a potential criminal prosecution of Trump could bring. What will the reaction be if Trump is indicted? What will happen on the day he appears in court? What will happen if he goes to trial and is convicted? There may be moments when the risk of violence in defense of Trump is high.

As threats of violence become more widespread, it can create an atmosphere in which the threshold for committing actual violence is lowered. When violent rhetoric becomes pervasive, people willing to commit violence feel justified. They feel like there’s community support. It enables them. That’s a reality we all have to start grappling with.

More about Alan: Before becoming a reporter, he worked for a private detective agency run by two former New York City police officers. He later spent three years as a stringer for The Times, covering fires, murders and other middle-of-the-night stories in New York before joining the staff in 1999. In 2020, he published a book about El Chapo.

  • In his final days in office, Trump had done little to leave the White House — but he had packed papers instead of sending them to the National Archives.

  • An associate sought a pardon for Rudolph Giuliani just after the Jan. 6 attack, but the request was intercepted before it reached Trump.

  • Ukrainian attacks in Crimea, including a drone assault yesterday, appeared on Russian social media, putting domestic pressure on the Kremlin.

  • Mexico’s former attorney general was arrested in connection with the abduction and likely massacre of 43 students in 2014.

  • Two pilots for Africa’s largest airline fell asleep and missed their scheduled window to land in Ethiopia.

  • An influx of migrants has strained New York City’s social safety net.

  • Republican candidates are invoking “the American dream” in a pessimistic tone.

  • UPS drivers, whose trucks lack air conditioning, say heat waves are endangering them.

  • The actor Gary Busey was charged with criminal sexual contact and harassment related to an encounter at a fan convention in New Jersey.

The Sunday question: How will Democrats’ legislative successes affect the midterm elections?

Democrats’ achievements on climate and gun control could energize base voters and blunt the losses the president’s party typically suffers, New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore writes. But consumer confidence and Biden’s job approval remain low, and voters overall tend not to reward big policy victories, The Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter notes.

Read the full article here


The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills



The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.

A spokeswoman for the company, Dani Hirsch, said in an interview that for its 2018 application, the company had not conducted any new studies but had submitted “what was already out there.”

In a statement, the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said “the misconception that Plan B works by interfering with implantation can present barriers to broader emergency contraception access. The Plan B labeling correction will help protect continued over-the-counter emergency contraception access and reduce confusion about how Plan B works and further clarify that Plan B does not affect implantation.”

Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.

Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.

According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.

As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.

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Who are Caroline Ellison’s parents? Fraudster’s mom and dad are MIT economists



This apple fell far from the tree.

Caroline Ellison — who pleaded guilty to fraud charges related to her role in the FTX cryptocurrency scandal, which led to the extradition of Sam Bankman-Fried this week — is the daughter of high-profile economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to his curriculum vitae, Ellison’s father, Glenn Ellison, was educated at Harvard, Cambridge and MIT before becoming the Gregory K. Palm (1970) Professor of Economics at the latter. 

In addition to coaching youth softball and his daughters’ middle school math teams, he writes “Hard Math,” a series of textbooks and workbooks about teaching arithmetic to younger students.

Glenn Ellison is also an Elected Fellow of the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory and American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Caroline Ellison’s parents, Glenn and Sara Ellison, outside their Newton, Mass., home in early December.
Robert Miller

Ellison’s mother, Sara Ellison, is also an accomplished academic. Armed with an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and a mathematical statistics diploma from Cambridge University, her profile shows she completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993. 

Sara Ellison is currently a senior lecturer in the department alongside her husband.

“We were definitely exposed to a lot of economics [growing up],” Ellison, 28, once told Forbes.

Ellison, 28, plead guilty to fraud this week.
Ellison, 28, pleaded guilty to fraud this week.
Twitter / @AlamedaResearch
Caroline Ellison's sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.
Caroline Ellison’s sister, Anna, now lives in the West Village.

Glenn and Sara Ellison were photographed by The Post outside their home in Newton, an affluent Boston suburb, earlier this month. Armed with several bags, they told reporters they were too “busy” to comment on the FTX scandal.

The eldest of three sisters — including Anna, 25, who now lives in Manhattan’s West Village — Ellison distinguished herself as a precocious math whiz at a young age. 

When she was just 8 years old, she reportedly presented her father with a paper analyzing stuffed animal prices at Toys ‘R’ Us.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan Federal Court on Thursday.
Sam Bankman-Fried leaving Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Matthew McDermott
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Both Glenn and Sara Ellison are economists at MIT.
Robert Miller

She went on to compete in the Math Prize for Girls while at Newton North High School before studying mathematics at Stanford University, where former professor Ruth Stackman described her to Forbes as “bright, focused, [and] very mathy.”

Ellison and Bankman-Fried, 30, crossed paths at the Wall Street trading firm Jane Street. Bankman-Fried’s parents are also both university lecturers, at Stanford in California. They became good friends and she joined Alameda Research, the hedge fund arm of the FTX crypto exchange, in 2018. She then became CEO in 2021. However, the company remained owned 90% by Bankman-Fried and 10% by another member of his circle.

In addition to documenting her supposed foray into polyamory on Tumblr, Ellison once boasted about drug use on social media.

Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Sara Ellison completed a doctorate at MIT in 1993.
Robert Miller

“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how dumb a lot of normal, non-medicated human experience is,” she tweeted in 2021.

Ellison reportedly admitted to Alameda employees that FTX had used client funds to bail out the fledgeling hedge fund during a video call in November. She was eventually terminated as CEO by insolvency professional and current FTX CEO John J. Ray III after FTX and Alameda filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

She pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges on Monday, and has subsequently been released on $250,000 bail.

Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Ellison was spotted getting coffee in New York City on Dec. 4.
Twitter / @AutismCapital

Although she could be sent to jail for up to 110 years for her part in the FTX-Alameda scandal — which has been said by federal prosecutors to have lost between $1 billion and $2 billion of customers’ cash — she is thought to have struck a deal with the feds for a much lighter sentence in return for her cooperation.

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Iran condemns Zelensky’s remarks to Congress as ‘baseless.’



Iran has condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks to the U.S. Congress, warning the Ukrainian leader against further accusing Tehran of supplying weapons to Russia for use in the war.

Mr. Zelensky told Congress on Wednesday that Iranian-made drones “sent to Russia in hundreds” had been threatening Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, a view shared by American and European officials. In Iran, he said, Russia had found an “ally in its genocidal policy.”

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called Mr. Zelensky’s comments “rude” and “baseless.”

“Mr. Zelensky had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Mr. Kanaani said in a statement on Thursday.

Although Iran has officially denied supplying Russia with the weapons since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials have said that the first shipment was delivered in August.

Mr. Zelensky has said that drones used in Monday’s wave of predawn attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities were from a batch recently delivered to Russia by Iran. The strikes came after Biden administration officials said that Russia and Iran were strengthening their military ties into a “full-fledged defense partnership.”

The European Union last week condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a gross violation of international law and announced new sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities over their roles in supplying the drones that Moscow has used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure. That followed a round of sanctions on Iranians over the drone deliveries in October.

Mr. Kanaani “once again emphasizes” that Iran has not supplied military equipment for use in Ukraine, the statement issued on Thursday added, and urged Mr. Zelensky to learn “the fate of some other political leaders” who were happy with U.S. support. It was not clear which other leaders the statement was referring to.

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