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AP: Bernie Madoff dies in federal prison

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Notorious ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff has died in a federal prison, the Associated Press reports.

Madoff reportedly died of natural causes at the age of 82 at a Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. In 2020, Madoff’s lawyers requested that he be released due to the spread of COVID-19 and his chronic medical conditions.

He pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 federal crimes after he had been defrauding tens of thousands of people for decades. He was turned in by his two sons, who were working for him at the time.

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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House Speaker Mike Johnson Vows to Take Legal Action After DOJ Declines to Prosecute Merrick Garland

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House Speaker Mike Johnson expressed disappointment on Friday over the Justice Department’s (DOJ) decision not to prosecute Attorney General Merrick Garland after the House voted to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. Johnson announced plans to take the subpoena to federal court and certify the contempt reports.

The DOJ stated that Garland’s refusal to comply with the subpoena, which instructed him to turn over an audio recording of President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur, did not “constitute a crime.” This decision follows the GOP-led House’s vote on Wednesday to hold Garland in contempt, passing the resolution with a 216–207 vote.

“The House disagrees with the assertions in the letter from the Department of Justice,” Johnson wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “As Speaker, I will be certifying the contempt reports to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. It is sadly predictable that the Biden Administration’s Justice Department will not prosecute Garland for defying congressional subpoenas even though the department aggressively prosecuted Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro for the same thing.”

Johnson criticized the DOJ’s decision as “another example” of what he perceives as the Biden administration’s two-tiered system of justice. He emphasized that the House would pursue the enforcement of the subpoena against Garland in federal court. The contempt order was issued after President Biden invoked executive privilege over the tapes, though Congress has received a transcript of the interview.

In a statement following the House’s contempt vote, Garland blasted the decision, accusing House Republicans of weaponizing their power for partisan purposes. “Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland stated. “I will always stand up for this department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

The Justice Department’s refusal to prosecute Garland underscores ongoing tensions between the executive branch and the GOP-led House. The situation reflects broader disputes over congressional oversight, executive privilege, and the handling of classified information.

As Speaker Johnson moves forward with legal action, the outcome could set significant precedents for the balance of power between Congress and the executive branch. The decision to pursue enforcement of the subpoena in federal court will be closely watched, as it may influence future interactions between legislative investigators and executive officials.

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