A former UN official who drugged and raped an unconscious women over two decades during humanitarian missions in the Middle East was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on Friday.
Karim Elkorany, 38, sexually assaulted at least 20 women most of them close friends during work trips to Iraq, Egypt and while home in the United States.
Journalists, Fulbright scholars, and UN employees Elkorany brutalised were among nine the women who spoke at his Manhattan Federal Court sentencing.
They described being haunted by not knowing details of their assaults or what drugs Elkorany used to knock them out, while noting his habitual abuse was an open secret.
A reporter, identified as Victim one, 31 years old and happily married was raped by Elkorany while on assignment in Kurdistan in November 2016. She described the life-shattering trauma that followed as being like a cancer.
She described her memories of that night as “snapshots suspended in darkness.
’’ “ Elkorany parks the vehicle in the garage of an apartment building, a place I never agreed to visit.
“The next memories I had was of being sexually assaulted.
In the most excruciating one, I am being raped.
I feel pain.
I want to say no, but I can’t speak.
I can’t move.
I’m unable to escape.
’’ Elkorany pleaded guilty in May to sexual assault charges and lying to the FBI.
Manhattan Federal Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald imposed the stiffest sentence she could for those charges.
The jurist noted that, had he been convicted in New Jersey or Washington DC, where some of the assaults occurred, he would have gotten life in prison.
“The drugging of victims was totally reckless.
Mr. Elkorany made no effort to learn whether the drugs he used on his victims would cause permanent harm,’’ Buchwald said.
“I doubt that he did an analysis of the quantity versus the weight of the victim, and we know from all the letters how clearly they got more of these drugs than was necessary for his purpose, given how out of it they were for a very long period of time.
’’ Assistant U.
S. Attorney, Lara Pomerantz said Elkorany photographed his unconscious victims and infected some with sexually transmitted diseases because he didn’t wear condoms.
S. Attorney, Damian Williams described Elkorany’s crimes as “monstrous’’ and expressed gratitude to the women who came forward.
The West Orange, New Jersey, man began working in international aid, development, and foreign relations in 2005. He was with UNICEF in Iraq from 2013 to 2016 before his promotion to communications specialist.
A spokesman for the organisation, Stéphane Dujarric, said it saluted the women who came forward and was trying to improve its approach to preventing abuse.
Elkorany apologised to his victims in court.
“I realise that words of apology will only ring hollow here today and that words of apology cannot undo the damage that I have so clearly caused,’’ he said.
“And yet I am deeply, deeply sorry.
One of the classified documents seized by the FBI at former US president Donald Trump’s Florida residence described the nuclear capabilities and military defences of a foreign power, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The newspaper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the case, said that some of the documents found in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence were so highly classified that only the president and cabinet or near-cabinet level officials would be cleared to authorize other government officials to access them.
It did not name the country whose defence and nuclear capabilities were cited in the document.
According to the Post, such documents require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, rather than a generic top-secret clearance.
There were no details as to where in the residence, which also serves as a private members club, the highly sensitive material was found, or under what type of security.
Trump is facing mounting legal pressure, with the Justice Department saying top secret documents were “likely concealed” to obstruct an FBI probe into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified materials.
When agents searched the Mar-a-Lago resort on August 8, they found the material so sensitive that “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents,” a government court filing said.
The FBI raid came after a review of “highly classified” records that Trump finally surrendered to authorities in January after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration.
The 15 boxes handed over by Trump were found to contain 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret.
After prompting from the FBI, Trump’s lawyer eventually turned over an additional 38 classified documents — and provided “sworn certification” that they represented the last of the material.
But the FBI went on to uncover “multiple sources of evidence” showing classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.
Ex-president Donald Trump branded his successor Joe Biden an “enemy of the state” during a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday, as he slammed last month’s FBI raid of his Florida home.
Making his first public appearance since the August 8 raid, Trump said the search was a “travesty of justice” and warned it would produce “a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen.
” “There can be no more vivid example of the very real threats from American freedom than just a few weeks ago, you saw, when we witnessed one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history,” Trump said.
His suggestion that the Biden administration had overseen the raid goes against long-standing protocols which see the Justice Department and the FBI act independently of the White House.
Trump told cheering supporters at the rally in the city of Wilkes-Barre that the “egregious abuse of the law” was going to produce “a backlash the likes of which nobody has ever seen.
” Trump also hit back at Biden’s speech this week in which the president said his predecessor and Republican supporters “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.
” Biden gave the “most vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president,” Trump told supporters “He’s an enemy of the state.
You want to know that,” Trump said.
“Republicans in the MAGA movement are not the ones trying to undermine our democracy,” he continued, alluding to his Make America Great Again movement.
“We are the ones trying to save our democracy, very simple.
The danger to democracy comes from the radical left, not from the right,” he added.
Top secret documents found at Donald Trump’s Florida home were “likely concealed” to obstruct an FBI probe into the former US president’s potential mishandling of classified materials, the Department of Justice said in an explosive new court filing.
The filing released late Tuesday provides the most detailed account yet of a year-and-a-half-long effort to recover hundreds of classified documents that were improperly taken to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate when he left office in January 2021.
And the claim of obstruction piles further legal pressure on the Republican ex-president — who denies all wrongdoing and has denounced an unprecedented FBI raid on his palatial home this month as part of a “witch hunt.
” Trump’s legal team responded Wednesday with a filing that described the government’s pursuit of the documents as “unjustified,” said the former president’s possession of sensitive information “should have never been caused for alarm,” and described the raid as “unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported.
” The August 8 raid was triggered by a review of “highly classified” records that Trump finally surrendered to authorities in January this year — after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
The Justice Department began investigating the matter after the 15 boxes were found to contain national defence information, including 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret, a government affidavit showed.
After prompting from the FBI, Trump’s lawyer would eventually turn over an additional 38 classified documents — and provide “sworn certification” that they represented the last of the material.
But it did not stop there: the FBI went on to uncover “multiple sources of evidence” showing classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago, the new filing says.
When agents conducted their court-ordered search, they found the material so sensitive that “even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents,” it says.
Strikingly, the filing included a photograph of colour-coded documents spread out over a carpet, marked “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET.
” Now, as the filing made clear, prosecutors are seeking to determine whether Trump or anyone in his immediate orbit acted criminally to prevent federal agents from retrieving classified documents.
It cited “evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room (at Trump’s estate) and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.
” Trump hit back at the photo’s release in a post on his Truth Social network.
“Terrible the way the FBI, during the Raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor (perhaps pretending it was me that did it!
), and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see,” he wrote.
‘Significantly harm’ government interestDuring the raid, the Tuesday filing says, agents found more than 100 documents with classification markings — taking the total number of secret documents recovered from the former president to more than 300.
Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, has accused the Justice Department under Democratic President Joe Biden of pursuing a vendetta against him, and said the judge “should never have allowed the break-in of my home.
” The former president has taken legal action to seek the appointment of an independent party, or “special master,” to screen the seized files for materials protected by personal privilege.
The government argues that naming a special master, potentially blocking investigators’ access to the seized documents, “would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.
” In their response on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers again insisted on the appointment of a special master.
“Assuring access by (Trump’s) counsel to the seized materials, sharing an actual (detailed) inventory, making independent attorney-client privilege assessments, and making executive privilege determinations are all responsibilities that are best served by appointment of a special master,” they wrote.
The Mar-a-Lago search warrant, personally approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland, was based on suspicions of violations of the US Espionage Act related to the illegal retention of sensitive defence documents, on suspicion of obstruction, and of illegal destruction of government documents.
Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said the actions outlined in the brief were “reckless in the extreme” and showed “deliberate” deception.
In addition to investigations in New York into his business practices, Trump faces legal scrutiny for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and for the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House of Representatives after the Capitol riot — he was charged with inciting an insurrection — but was acquitted by the Senate.
Former US president Donald Trump’s legal team on Wednesday dismissed the government’s “unjustified” pursuit of classified documents at his home and said the raid in which they were seized was legally dubious and unnecessary.
Responding to a bombshell filing in which the US Department of Justice said top secret documents were “likely concealed” at Trump’s estate to obstruct an FBI probe, his attorneys insisted that his possession of sensitive information should have come as no surprise.
“The purported justification for the initiation of this criminal probe was the alleged discovery of sensitive information contained within the 15 boxes of presidential records,” a court filing by Trump’s team said.
“But this ‘discovery’ was to be fully anticipated given the very nature of presidential records.
Simply put, the notion that presidential records would contain sensitive information should have never been caused for alarm,” it said.
Trump’s lawyers repeated their call for an independent review of all material seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate and described the August 8 FBI raid on the property as “unprecedented, unnecessary, and legally unsupported.
”The Department of Justice painted a distinctly different picture in its late Tuesday filing opposing the appointment of a “special master” to review the documents, saying that highly sensitive materials were recovered from Trump’s home.
Strikingly, the department’s filing included a photograph of colour-coded documents spread out over a carpet, marked “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET.
” The inclusion of the photograph also sparked condemnation by Trump’s team.
“The government’s response gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect,” it said.
Documents at former US president Donald Trump’s Florida home were “likely concealed” to obstruct an FBI probe into his potential mishandling of classified materials, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday.
The filing provides the most detailed account yet of the motivation for the FBI raid this month on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, which was triggered by a review of records he previously surrendered to authorities that contained top-secret information.
Before the raid, the FBI uncovered “multiple sources of evidence” showing that “classified documents” remained at Mar-a-Lago, the filing says.
“The government also developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed… and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation,” the filing adds.
The DOJ said it provided the detailed background on the build-up to the raid “to correct the incomplete and inaccurate narrative set forth in (Trump’s) filings.
”The filing responds to Trump’s request last week for an independent party, or “special master,” to screen files seized in the FBI raid for materials protected by personal privilege.
Naming a special master could potentially block investigators’ access to the documents, especially if he or she accepts Trump’s claims that most were privileged.
The filing argues that the court should not appoint a special master, “because those records do not belong to (Trump).
” The “appointment of a special master is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests,” the filing adds.
Trump, who is weighing another White House run in 2024, has accused the Justice Department under Democratic President Joe Biden of conducting a “witch hunt” and said the judge “should never have allowed the break-in of my home.
Prime-time congressional hearings and an unprecedented FBI raid on his home have ramped up legal pressures on Donald Trump, but analysts say a slow-moving, lower-key investigation in Georgia could be the case that finally brings him down.
Scrutiny of the former president’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in the state he lost to Joe Biden by fewer than 12,000 votes is intensifying as he eyes a third run for the White House in 2024.
The 76-year-old former reality TV star immediately cried foul after becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to lose Georgia in almost three decades.
But after three presidential ballot counts and the failure of numerous lawsuits, no evidence of significant voter fraud surfaced in the critical swing state.
Trump nevertheless meddled repeatedly in Georgia politics, pushing for secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in a now-infamous taped phone call to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory.
A group of Brookings Institution legal experts wrote in October last year that Trump’s post-election conduct in the state “leaves him at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes.
” In May, Fulton County’s top prosecutor Fani Willis assembled a special grand jury to investigate attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s election results.
‘Legal exposure’A potentially year-long process, the probe could end in Trump facing a raft of solicitation and conspiracy charges connected to election fraud and interference, according to legal experts.
The former president — who denies all wrongdoing — could also face prosecution under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, which is usually used to nail down mob figures.
Willis has already amassed significant testimony from Trump’s inner circle, including his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been informed he is the target of criminal investigators.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp — whom Trump berated repeatedly for certifying the 2020 election results, his duty under the law — was ordered by a judge Monday to testify after November’s midterm elections.
Raffensperger and Georgia attorney general Chris Carr, who was also pushed by Trump to contest the state’s vote count, have already appeared before the grand jury.
Meanwhile Trump’s ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is fighting his own summons, as is the former president’s Senate ally Lindsey Graham, who denies accusations that he improperly suggested that Georgia toss out lawful mail-in ballots.
“Willis seeking testimony from additional Donald Trump allies, including Mark Meadows, is a sign of how serious this investigation is — and how concerned Trump should be about his own legal exposure,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, posted on Twitter on Friday.
Former assistant US attorney Kevin O’Brien, a seasoned trial lawyer specializing in white-collar criminal defence, cautioned that a high-profile witness list does not necessarily equate to a nailed-on prosecution.
‘Big freaking deal’State prosecutors generally have less expertise for white-collar investigations than the federal justice department, O’Brien told AFP, advocating for a “wait-and-see attitude” to the potential for charges.
“(The) proof will be in the pudding,” he added.
“Trump has thus far escaped all accountability for his actions, whether in Georgia or elsewhere.
”Other experts say, however, that the Georgia investigation differs from the federal probes in key ways that may make prosecution more likely than an indictment from the federal justice department.
David French, a former attorney turned conservative commentator, believes Trump faces criminal exposure over the 2021 insurrection but has long held the view that Trump’s primary risk was in Georgia.
“You can take some criminal statutes — both Georgia and federal — and just pretty much match it up with his conduct,” he said on a recent episode of the current affairs podcast The Fifth Column.
“Let me put it this way: if he was a small-town sheriff, and he had called a local county election commissioner and said, ‘I need 50 more votes or, you know, you might find yourself arrested,’ he’d probably already be indicted.
“But he’s the former president of the United States.
That’s a big, big freaking deal to indict him.
And I don’t know if that will happen, but Georgia to me has always been a greater risk for him.
President Joe Biden told Democrats at a rally Thursday that they need to save the country from the “semi-fascism” of Donald Trump’s Republicans and keep control of Congress in upcoming midterm elections.
Speaking to hundreds of party faithful in Maryland, just outside Washington, Biden sought to build on growing energy in the party, which believes it can fend off a threatened Republican victory in the November 8 vote.
Casting the Republicans under ex-president Trump’s sway as a party of “anger, violence, hate and division,” Biden said, “We’ve chosen a different path forward: the future of unity, hope and optimism.
” “This fall there will be a choice between these two visions.
We must take our case to the American people and be crystal clear about it,” he said.
Earlier, in remarks ahead of the speech, Biden likened Trump’s Make America Great Again or MAGA brand as “extreme.
” “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something, it’s like semi-fascism,” Biden said.
“You need to vote to literally save democracy again,” he then said in his speech.
Democrats on a rollJust weeks ago, Democrats were in the doldrums.
With Biden’s approval ratings below 40 percent and the party seemingly unable to close the deal on a series of election promises, there were widespread expectations that the Republicans would easily take control of at least one chamber of Congress.
A dramatic August, however, has sown the seeds of what some Democrats hope will be a political miracle, with their party holding the Senate and at minimum mitigating the size of the Republican win in the House of Representatives.
The Maryland rally came on the heels of a spate of legislative wins in Congress, coupled with fury among many Americans over the conservative-dominated Supreme Court’s ruling to end automatic nationwide abortion access rights.
Biden warned that Republicans would seek to outlaw abortion completely if they control Congress but said the issue was galvanizing “the powerful force” of women voters.
And he cited the racking up of laws on funding high-tech investment, the green economy, health care and also a limited, but still politically impressive approval for new gun safety restrictions.
Just Wednesday, he made his latest move, announcing that millions of voters will be eligible to have between $10,000 and $20,000 canceled from their often crippling student debt — a longtime demand from Democratic supporters.
“Even our critics have been forced to acknowledge real progress,” he said to cheers.
By contrast, Republicans have become distracted by drama over Trump’s dispute with the Justice Department and the FBI over his allegedly illegal removal of top secret documents from the White House to his Florida golf club residence.
– Shifting polls –One reason the Republicans were expecting heavy wins in the midterms is that opposition parties nearly always punish the president’s party in midterms.
Another is that Biden, after a tough year marred by repeated new Covid variants and the highest inflation in 40 years, is so unpopular.
His average approval rating has been stuck below 40 percent since late June, making him as unpopular as Trump before him.
Add in redistricting of House seats that was widely believed to favor the Republicans — effectively almost guaranteeing them several extra seats — and Republican party leaders were predicting a “red wave” to sweep “blue” Democrats away.
Now there’s giddy talk on the left of a blue riptide washing back in the other direction.
The average of baseline polls asking which party should control Congress has shifted from months where Republicans led to a narrow 44-43.
6 percent advantage for Democrats.
In the individual races, there are also glimmers of hope for Biden’s party.
A Democrat won Wednesday in a special election in a House swing district in New York — exactly the kind of district Republicans would expect to flip in a red wave.
The Senate, which Democrats currently only control with one vote, was also thought to be trending Republican, but even Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell says that’s now a 50-50 proposition.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said.
The veteran insider cited the “quality” of his party’s Senate candidates.
It was a clear dig at some of the Republican contenders chosen in large part because of their populist, pro-Trump credentials, rather than credibility with the electorate at large.
Meanwhile, Biden’s own polling, while still terrible, is also creeping up.
A Gallup poll on Thursday showed 44 percent approval, his best result in a year.
By comparison, this is actually better polling for an August before midterm elections than Trump in 2018 or Barack Obama in 2014, Gallup said.
The United States, through the Department of Justice and the FBI, seized approximately $23 million attributable to the corruption and money laundering of former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his accomplices.
This money will be returned to the Nigerian people through an agreement between the Governments of the United States and the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria) signed today in Abuja, Nigeria, by United States Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.
This repatriation will bring the total amount seized and returned by the Department of Justice in this case to approximately $334.7 million.
In 2014, US District Judge John D.
Bates for the District of Columbia issued a ruling ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500 million located in accounts around the world, as a result of a civil forfeiture lawsuit.
of more than $625 million attributable to money laundering involving the proceeds of Abacha's corruption.
In 2020, the department repatriated more than $311.7 million of forfeited assets that had been located in the Bailiff of Jersey.
Last year, the UK government enforced the US judgment against the additional $23 million.
"This $23 million repatriation reflects the Justice Department's unwavering commitment to recovering and returning the proceeds of corruption laundered through the U.S. financial system," said Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A.
Polite, Jr. of the Department of Justice.
Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.
The forfeited assets represent corrupt money laundered during and after the military regime of General Abacha, who became Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a military coup on November 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8.
The complaint alleges that General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, his associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and others embezzled, misappropriated, and extorted billions from the Nigerian government and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through institutions American financial institutions and transactions in the United States.
states The UK's cooperation in the investigation, restraint and execution of the US sentence, together with the valuable contributions of Nigeria and other law enforcement partners around the world, including the UK's National Crime Agency, as well as those of the Office of International Affairs, have been essential for the recovery of these funds.
Under the agreement signed today, the United States will transfer 100% of net forfeited assets to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that were previously authorized by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian legislature.
Specifically, the funds governed by this agreement will help finance the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano highway, investments that will benefit the citizens of each of these important regions of Nigeria.
The agreement includes key measures to ensure transparency and accountability, including the administration of funds and projects by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), financial review by an independent auditor, and monitoring by part of an independent civil society organization with expertise in engineering and other areas.
The agreement also excludes the spending of funds to benefit alleged perpetrators of corruption or to pay contingency fees for attorneys.
The agreement reflects the strong principles for ensuring transparency and accountability adopted at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) in December 2017 in Washington, DC, which the United States and the United Kingdom hosted with the support of the World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative.
and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
This case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Criminal Division's Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section working in partnership with the FBI's Washington Field Office.
Through the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement agencies seek to safeguard the US financial system from criminal money laundering and recover the proceeds of corruption.
Where appropriate and possible, the department strives to use recovered proceeds of corruption to benefit individuals harmed by acts of corruption and abuse of the public trust.
Persons with information about potential proceeds of foreign corruption located or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The department is grateful for the extensive assistance provided by the governments of the UK, Nigeria, Jersey and France in this investigation.
Former US president Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday urging a court to name an independent party to screen files that the FBI seized from his Florida home for materials protected by personal privilege.
Claiming in a court filing that he had been targeted for political reasons, Trump demanded that a “special master” be named to review the more than two dozen boxes of files taken in the unprecedented August 8 raid.
The special master — who would not act at the direction of the Justice Department, which ordered the raid — would evaluate the documents and determine which ones Trump could retain as “privileged,” or protected from use in investigations.
“The Mar-a-Lago break-in, search and seizure was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are taking all actions necessary to get the documents back,” Trump said in a statement.
“They took documents covered by attorney-client and executive privilege,” he added.
The FBI warrant indicated that Trump was suspected of illegally taking highly classified documents and official records of his administration from the White House that he did not have the right to possess and had refused to turn over.
Besides potentially violating laws governing highly sensitive records, the department indicated the materials were also important in unspecified ongoing federal investigations.
Investigations that could involve the former president include the broad probe into the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress by Trump supporters, and an overlapping investigation into efforts by his backers to tamper with the 2020 presidential election.
Naming a special master could potentially block investigators’ access to the documents, especially if he or she accepts Trump’s claims that most were privileged.
In addition, it could interfere if the Justice Department is considering charging Trump with obstructing their investigations by refusing to hand over the documents.
The lawsuit was not filed in the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the original warrant was issued, but in more distant Fort Pierce, where the sole judge is a Trump appointee.
In the lawsuit, Trump suggested the FBI raid was politically motivated.
“The government has long treated President Donald J.
Trump unfairly,” it said.
Trump “is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” it said.
Law enforcement “cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” it added.