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Mueller Will Use Roger Stone’s Bank Records, Texts, and Emails As Evidence

Legal analysts say sizable amount of potential evidence seems to go well beyond the current known charges against Stone

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Mueller will use Roger Stone’s bank records, texts and emails as evidence” was written by Tom McCarthy in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 31st January 2019 18.56 UTC

Special counsel Robert Mueller has signaled to defense lawyers for Roger Stone, the longtime adviser to Donald Trump, that prosecutors might brandish Stone’s bank records and personal communications going back several years as evidence in the case against him.

Legal analysts said the move could be significant because the sizable amount of potential evidence listed by Mueller – and its nature, in the case of the bank records – seemed to go well beyond the current known charges against Stone.

A court filing by Mueller on Thursday said prosecutors had seized “voluminous and complex” material including “multiple hard drives containing several terabytes of information”, material seized from search warrants executed on “Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts”, “bank and financial records, and the contents of numerous physical devices (eg, cellular phones, computers, and hard drives)”.

Stone was indicted last week on charges of obstructing an investigation, witness tampering and five counts of making false statements. Two of his residences – one in Florida and one in Manhattan – were raided during his arrest.

“It’s interesting that Mueller produced bank and financial records to Roger Stone, given that they don’t appear related to the charges he faces,” former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted. “Perhaps Mueller’s team has a practice of producing broad discovery to defendants, but it is not required by the rules.

“If that is not Mueller’s usual practice, perhaps they want Stone to have this information now because there could be additional charges down the line, or because they think his knowledge that they possess this information could encourage him to flip.”

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance called the filing “good news for the investigation”.

“This implies that the FBI was able to access communications Stone and others could have assumed were protected from law-enforcement,” Vance tweeted. “This is good news for the investigation, there is no telling what might be in there Stone thought law-enforcement would never be able to see it.”

The indictment of Stone last week suggested that prosecutors might have gained access to encrypted messages sent or received by Stone.

One section of the indictment describes a text message exchange between Stone and an unidentified Trump “supporter” asking about a Stone contact in London alleged to be in communication with the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“The supporter involved with the Trump Campaign asked STONE via text message if he had ‘hear[d] anymore from London’,” the indictment reads in part. “STONE replied, ‘Yes – want to talk on a secure line – got Whatsapp?’ STONE subsequently told the supporter that more material would be released and that it would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign.”

Stone is suspected of attempting to establish or carrying out back-channel communications between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks – although he has not been charged with any crime along those lines.

He has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

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Four U.S Troops Killed In Kabul Airport Attack

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4 U.S. soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in attacks on Kabul airport.

A U.S. official says several Marines were killed and a number of other American military were wounded Thursday in an attack on Kabul’s airport.

U.S. officials have said that information is still coming in and they are trying to determine exact numbers of casualties.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

The Pentagon would not say what troops were involved but acknowledged that “a number of U.S. service members were killed.”

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Amazon’s palm print recognition raises concern among U.S. senators

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Three U.S. senators, including Democrat Amy Klobuchar who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, wrote a letter to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) to express concern about its palm print recognition system, Klobuchar’s office said Friday.

Amazon began rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle in April, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers link a credit card to their palm print.  read more 

Klobuchar, who was joined by Senators Bill Cassidy, a Republican, and Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, expressed concern in the letter dated Thursday about both privacy and competition related to Amazon One.

“Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

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WHO seeks to take political heat out of virus origins debate

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The World Health Organization said on Friday it was setting up a new group to trace the origins of the coronavirus, seeking to end what it called “political point scoring” that had hampered investigations.

The inability of the WHO to say where and how the virus began spreading has fuelled tensions among its members, particularly between China, where COVID-19 cases were first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, and the United States.

The WHO called for all governments to cooperate to accelerate studies into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and “to depoliticise the situation”.

It specified that a new advisory group called the International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens would support “the rapid undertaking” of further studies.

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