Floriduh! Woman and Man: All That Glitter is not Gold Edition

Miami Herald take it away (emphasis mine)!

Miami-Dade police is on the hook for legal bills after cops illegally seized a cache of guns — and nearly $20,000 in stripper cash.

The department has agreed to pay more than $3,000 to defense lawyers hired by Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, a 20-year-old stripper at Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach.

Presumably, the legal bills won’t be paid in singles.

Back on May 15, an officer pulled over Cates and Batista, his passenger, when their car cut off a patrol car in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood. From the car, patrol officers seized six guns, three of them assault-style rifles, plus the cash, suspected marijuana oil and several bottles of powerful codeine cough syrup without a valid prescription.

Miami-Dade police touted the arrest to a local TV station, showing off photos of the guns. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” a police spokesman told WFOR-CBS4. “A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops.”

The couple was charged with armed drug dealing, among other felony charges. But defense lawyers immediately challenged the arrest.

“What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients’ constitutional rights,” said defense attorney Jude Faccidomo.

Faced with defense evidence, prosecutors moved quickly to dismiss the case.

Cates told cops he legally owned the weapons, and also had a valid concealed-weapons permit. His story checked out. And body-camera footage showed that an officer, while friendly with Cates, never got permission to search the trunk but instead “commanded defendant to pop the trunk,” prosecutors wrote.

“Search of the trunk was illegal,” prosecutor Johnathan Nobile said in a memo explaining why the state declined to press charges.

Who possessed the drugs or possibly illegal codeine syrup was never clear either, prosecutors said. Neither Cates nor Batista admitted who owned the marijuana. And whether the syrup was actually codeine was also unclear — Miami-Dade police never took the liquid to the forensics lab for testing.

Lawyers for Cates are still trying to get the guns back.

As for the money, the bills were discovered in Batista’s purse. Body-camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald showed she immediately told cops about her cash-only job. “I was supposed to go the bank to deposit the money. We got bills to pay, sweetie,” she told police.

The Miami-Dade police department’s legal bureau, suspecting it was dope money, asked a civil-court judge to allow the department to keep the $19,934 seized in the car. The department said a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been “in close proximity” to large amounts of narcotics.

But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, Batista, earned “significant cash tips” at the Cheetah club.

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith agreed there was no probable cause for the seizure and ordered the money returning to the couple.

This is my favorite part:

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Ya think?

Stay supple!

Open thread.


Late-Night Russiagate Open Thread: Oh, What A Tangled Web We Weave!…

Daily Caller “reporter”:

… Aaaand the GOP, like good little sheep, are gonna follow Dear Leader right over that cliff!

Trump’s Open Door Policy…

Let anyone who wants waltz right into US cyberspace:

The White House eliminated the position of cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council on Tuesday, doing away with a post central to developing policy to defend against increasingly sophisticated digital attacks and the use of offensive cyber weapons.

A memorandum circulated by an aide to the new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the post was no longer considered necessary because lower-level officials had already made cybersecurity issues a “core function” of the president’s national security team.

If that seems suspiciously moronic to you too, well…y’all are not alone:

Cybersecurity experts and members of Congress said they were mystified by the move, though some suggested Mr. Bolton did not want any competitive power centers emerging inside the national security apparatus.

Bureaucratic politics and ongoing White House obedience to home office demands from the banks of the Moskva River trump US security once again. To continue:

President Trump began his administration with two respected veterans of cyber policy. He appointed Thomas P. Bossert, a lawyer in the administration of President George W. Bush, as the homeland security adviser.

The cybersecurity coordinator who reported to him, Rob Joyce, had run the Tailored Access Operations unit of the N.S.A. — the unit that, until it was reorganized and renamed, was responsible for breaking into foreign computer systems as part of United States covert operations.

Mr. Bossert was forced out on Mr. Bolton’s second day on the job, and Mr. Joyce returned to the N.S.A. on Friday. [links in the original]

This, from the same New York Times article quoted above, seems to me not MSM cluelessness but elegantly thrown shade:

It is unclear how those issues will now be managed in the White House. Mr. Bolton has virtually no cyber-related experience.

Though I am not a lawyer, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that inexperience — not to say stupidity — is no defense against charges of treason or other malfeasance.

This has been another update in the #WASF chronicles.

(Open thread, also too.)

Image: Potter Paulus, The young thief 1649.


World’s Most Obnoxious Couch-Surfer Faces Eviction

Like a too-trusting soul who allowed the town wastrel to spend the night in the spare room, only to wake up to an empty fridge, raided liquor cabinet, mysteriously stained sofa, cigarette holes in the carpet, pile of dirty dishes in the sink and hacked bank account, Ecuador has been had.

The Guardian reports that Ecuador spent millions on round-the-clock security for Julian Assange, fretted over how to burnish his image (less rapey? fewer fascists?) and concocted plans to spirit him to safety if the Brits showed up at the door to haul him off to the hoosegow for jumping bail.

And how did the pallid creeper repay Ecuador? By hacking into the embassy’s communication system and accessing official and personal communications, plus pirating Ecuador’s internet on the sly.

Well, Ecuador isn’t the only one who was taken in by Assange. The impulse to stand up for the underdog is admirable, but potential saviors should ensure they’re not caping for rapey sleazebags who pal around with white nationalists and authoritarian kleptocrats while conspiring to overthrow democracies on the side.

Lesson now thoroughly learned, the new president of Ecuador is said to be keen to evict the squatter — ironically, to curry favor with the US. Assange’s erstwhile protector, former Ecuador President Rafael Correa, says Assange’s days of mooching off Ecuador are “numbered.” May he get exactly what he deserves.

NRA Open Thread: Is It Worse to Be A Blood-Hungry True Believer, or Just A Grifter Riling Up the True Believers for the Money?

Much applause from the fellow-grifter seats (remember Erickson’s ‘send Olympia Snowe bags of rock salt, but do it through my Amazon link cuz I need the commission’ days of yore?)…

Turns out, her boss had already shown her the way…

Late Night Open Thread: Don’t Get Our Hopes Up

Excellent link:

Mr. President, our plea to you is simple: Do NOT do this. We absolutely do not want you to pull ICE out of California, where the agency recently arrested more than 100 immigrants. It would totally embarrass us, and make you more popular and beloved among the millions of Real Americans who hate us and love you, if you did this. We love ICE and think it is good, even though we pretend to hate it (fake news).

I think I’ve talked to, if not 100% of the members of the liberal media, at least 97% of them by now, and we’re all in agreement: This would suck really hard… We would be forced to take to Twitter and plead with you, your supporters and your allies in the media, probably by posting thoroughly embarrassing crying selfies of ourselves—bring back ICE, Mr. Strong President, we’d plead…

Russiagate Open Thread: Into the Wayback Machine…



Yeah, but at least the Democrats aren’t actively abetting our foreign enemies…