NEW: Biden Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON – Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced a number of key administration posts: Elizabeth Klein, Deputy Secretary of the Interior; Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; Andrea Palm, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services; Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Cindy Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education; Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); and Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

President-elect Joe Biden said, “Our administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality, and the climate crisis; and get this government working for the people it serves. These tireless public servants will be a key part of our agenda to build back better — and I am confident they will help make meaningful change and move our country forward.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “To meet the unprecedented challenges facing the American people, we will need deeply experienced and knowledgeable leaders across our administration. These remarkable public servants reflect the very best of our nation, and they will help us contain this pandemic, create an economy that works for working people, and rebuild our country in a way that lifts up all Americans. President-elect Biden and I look forward to working with them to deliver results for the American people.”

The following White House announcements were made today:

Elizabeth Klein, Deputy Secretary of the Interior
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Elizabeth Klein is an experienced leader in clean energy, climate change, and environmental law and policy. Most recently, she was Deputy Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law, which supports state attorneys general in defending our nation’s bedrock environmental values.

Klein served at the Department of the Interior during both the Clinton and Obama-Biden administrations, advancing high-priority initiatives such as Interior’s renewable energy program and climate change adaptation efforts. She was previously an attorney at Latham & Watkins specializing in energy and environmental law issues and served as Director of Communications and Government Relations for the National Park Foundation prior to becoming an attorney.

Klein graduated with a degree in economics from the George Washington University and received her JD from American University’s Washington College of Law. Daughter of a former Navy Commander, Klein has roots in Delaware and Massachusetts, among other places, and now calls Virginia home where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
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Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh was appointed the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018 by Governor Ralph Northam. She previously served as the Virginia State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and then-U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in July 2015. Prior to being appointed to FSA, she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University (VSU) with oversight of Extension, Research and Academic Programs. Previously she was the Associate Administrator for Extension Programs and a 4-H Extension Specialist. Dr. Bronaugh would be the first woman of color to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

In spring 2019, Dr. Bronaugh launched the Virginia Farmer Stress Task Force, organized in partnership with agricultural and health agencies and organizations, to raise awareness and coordinate resources to address farmer stress and mental health challenges in Virginia. In the fall of 2020, she helped establish the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund, a new program to address food access issues within historically marginalized communities.

Dr. Bronaugh received her Ph.D. in Career and Technical Education from Virginia Tech. She is passionate about the advancement of youth leadership in agriculture. Dr. Bronaugh is from Petersburg, Virginia. She and her husband Cleavon, a retired United States Army veteran, have four children.

Andrea Palm, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services
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Andrea Palm is Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), overseeing one of the largest state agencies as a member of Governor Tony Evers’ cabinet. In this role, she has responsibility for the state’s Medicaid program, its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and behavioral health programs, among others. Palm has been leading the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, Palm held a number of policy and operational roles in the Obama-Biden Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation and Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to the Secretary. During her eight-year tenure, she worked on a variety of Administration priorities, including the Affordable Care Act, as well as providing leadership for the Department’s work to combat the opioid epidemic.

Palm was born and raised in rural upstate New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Polly Trottenberg, Deputy Secretary of Transportation
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Polly Trottenberg is a nationally recognized transportation leader with federal, state, and city experience. Trottenberg previously served in the Obama-Biden administration as the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and Under Secretary for Policy at USDOT. For the last seven years, she has served as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, running a complex 5,800-person agency that operates New York City’s transportation network of roadways, bridges, traffic and parking systems, the Staten Island Ferry, and extensive bicycle, pedestrian and public plaza infrastructure.

Trottenberg helped implement the nation’s first Vision Zero program, taking a multi-disciplinary approach to eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries. She has also focused on improving transportation equity and access, including implementation of the groundbreaking 14th St. Busway. She led NYCDOT’s COVID-19 response and recovery, transforming city streets to promote sustainable transportation and economic recovery, including one of the largest outdoor restaurant programs in the country.

Trottenberg has extensive legislative experience, serving three U.S. senators – Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She received her bachelor’s degree in History from Barnard College and her Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Cindy Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education
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Cindy Marten has served as Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District since 2013 after being unanimously selected by the Board of Education. She directed implementation of the district’s Vision 2020 initiative, committing to a meaningful graduation for all students with the district achieving the highest graduation rate among big-city districts in California and the fastest reading growth of large urban districts nationwide in 2019.

A classroom teacher for 17 years prior to being appointed superintendent, Marten worked for ten years at Central Elementary in City Heights, one of San Diego’s most ethnically diverse and economically challenged school communities, where she established a highly successful bi-literacy program, a hands-on school garden program, integrated arts education, quality after-school and preschool programs, a daycare center for employees’ children, and a community health and wellness center for students and their families.

Superintendent, principal, vice principal and literacy specialist are all job titles Marten has held in her 32-year career as an educator. She was chosen as one of the 2018 Business Women of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal, and was awarded the 2015 National Conflict Resolution Center Local Peacemaker Award. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, and a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning from the University of California, San Diego.

Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
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Rohit Chopra is a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission. He has actively advocated to promote fair, competitive markets that protect families and honest businesses from abuses. Commissioner Chopra was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018, and he has pushed for aggressive remedies against lawbreaking companies, especially repeat offenders. Together with state and international law enforcement partners, he has worked to increase scrutiny of dominant technology firms that pose risks to privacy, national security, and fair competition.

Chopra previously served as Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led the agency’s efforts on student loans. In 2011, the Secretary of the Treasury appointed him to serve as the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman, a new position established in the financial reform law. He also served as a Special Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education.

In these roles, Chopra led efforts to spur competition in the student loan financing market, develop new tools for students and student loan borrowers to make smarter decisions, and secure hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds for borrowers victimized by unlawful conduct by loan servicers, debt collectors, and for-profit college chains. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gary Gensler, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission
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Gary Gensler served as chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2009 to 2014, leading the Obama-Biden Administration’s reform of the $400 trillion swaps market. He was senior advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes in writing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and was Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance from 1999 to 2001 and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Markets from 1997 to 1999. Gensler was Chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission from 2017 to 2019.

Gensler also worked as CFO for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, as a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, and subsequently as an economic advisor for the Obama 2008 campaign. Prior to his public service, Gensler worked at Goldman Sachs, becoming a partner in the Mergers & Acquisition department, headed the firm’s Media Group, led fixed income & currency trading in Asia, and lastly co-headed Finance, being responsible for the firm’s worldwide Controllers and Treasury efforts.

Currently, Gensler is a Professor of the Practice of Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management, Co-Director of MIT’s [email protected] & Senior Advisor to the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, researching artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and new financial technologies. He won the MIT Sloan Outstanding Teacher Award based upon student nominations for the 2018-19 academic year. Gensler earned his undergraduate degree in economics in 1978 and his MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1979. He has three daughters, and is from Baltimore, Maryland.

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NC Man Accused of Fatally Stabbing His Mother, Another Person Arrested After Standoff

HICKORY, N.C. — Early Monday morning at 2:50 a.m. deputies with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on 16th St Dr NE in Hickory, in reference to a report of a person who been stabbed. When deputies arrived they discovered Rebecca Hahn, an occupant of the 16th St Dr NE residence, had suffered at least one stab wound to her torso. Rebecca Hahn informed deputies that her son, Billy Joe Hahn Jr, stabbed her while both were in a camper situated on the 16th St Dr NE property. Hahn, 29, had fled the scene.

Rebecca Hahn was transported to Carolina’s Medical Center where she died from her injuries.

An arrest warrant charging Hahn Jr with murder was issued around 8:00 a.m.

At 9:15 a.m. deputies and investigators located a vehicle Hahn was operating at a home on 28th St NE in Hickory. As deputies and investigators approached they discovered a person in that vehicle who’d also been stabbed. That person was identified as Kris Goodson. Goodson was transported to Catawba Valley Medical Center where he remains in serious condition. Police say Hahn stabbed Goodson while both were at the 28th St NE residence.

As Goodson was being attended to, deputies and investigators learned that Hahn Jr was barricaded inside a home on 28th St NE adjacent to where the car he’d been operating was parked.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Special Tactics and Response (STAR) Team and the Catawba County Critical Incident and De-Escalation Team responded. Hahn was later taken into custody by the STAR Team inside the home on 28th St NE.

Hahn has been served with the Murder Warrant and is being held without bond at the Catawba County Detention Facility. Charges against Hahn for the stabbing of Goodson are pending.

A motive for the attacks remain under investigation.

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Man Arrested After Making Bomb Threat, Setting Car on Fire Near FBI Building In Seattle

SDOT

SEATTLE == Police arrested a 34-year-old man Saturday afternoon after he made a bomb threat near a federal building.

At 1:14 p.m., Seattle Fire responded to a vehicle fire in the 300 block of Spring Street and requested police respond to order a tow truck. Once on scene, officers contacted a man who said he had set his car on fire intentionally to get the attention of police, and that there was a bomb in his car. Police detained the man and immediately began securing the area. SPD officers also coordinated with federal partners from the FBI, as their local office is in the immediate vicinity of where the vehicle was parked.

Detectives from the Arson and Bomb Squad responded and examined the vehicle, eventually determining there was no bomb.

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The suspect was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for investigation of bomb threats.

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Teen Accused Of Torching Boston Police Cop Car During George Floyd Riot Caught Trying To Flee The Country

PHOTO BY EPA

BOSTON – On Friday Boston Police Detectives travelled to a Juvenile Detention Center in New York to take custody of a juvenile male suspect who was wanted on an outstanding warrant stemming from the riots which unfolded in Downtown Boston on May 31, 2020 following the death of George Floyd.

At the time of his detention, the suspect was attempting to board a one-way, international flight when authorities discovered the outstanding warrant which had been issued out of the Juvenile Division of Boston Municipal Court on charges of “Delinquent to Wit: Arson of a Motor Vehicle and Inciting a Riot.”

The unidentified suspect had previously been placed in custody on Thursday June 11, 2020, by members of the BPD Fire Investigation Unit and the Framingham Police Department and was later released.

He is expected to be arraigned in Boston Juvenile Court.

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Feds Seize Nearly 300 Bricks of Coke on Private Jet at Miami Airport, Arrest 6 Including 2 Cops

Teshawn Adams and Shakim Mike are identified as two U.S. Virgin Islands police officers in criminal complaints filed in federal court. (Photos: The Virgin Islands Daily News) (WPLG)

Miami, Fl. – South Florida federal prosecutors have charged two U.S. Virgin Islands police officers and four others with drug trafficking crimes after federal agents discovered more than 300 kilograms of cocaine being carried inside travel bags on a private passenger flight from the Virgin Islands to Miami last week.

Criminal complaints filed in federal court identify the defendants as Teshawn Adams, 26, Tevon Adams, 26, Anthon Berkeley, 26, Roystin David, 28, Maleek Leonard, 27, and Shakim Mike, 29. Teshawn Adams and Mike live in St. Thomas and are officers with the U.S. Virgin Islands Police Department. David and Leonard also live in St. Thomas. Tevon Adams lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Berkeley lives in Orlando.

The criminal complaint affidavits allege the following: Teshawn Adams accepted an offer from someone in the Virgin Islands to transport cocaine to South Florida in exchange for money. Together with fellow police officer Mike, Teshawn Adams arranged a private flight from the Virgin Islands to South Florida. On January 12, the two officers boarded the jet, joined by defendants David and Leonard and travel bags containing more than 300 kilograms of cocaine. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered the cocaine, packaged as 294 individually plastic-wrapped bricks, during a security check: They saw the bricks on the screen of the X-ray machine that scanned the men’s bags at the Opa Locka Executive Airport on arrival. Tevon Adams, twin brother to one of the police officers, and Berkeley stood ready to transport the jet travelers and the cocaine from the Opa-Locka Airport to other areas of Florida, alleges the complaint affidavits.

Read more details HERE.

HSI and CBP investigated the matter, with assistance from Miami-Dade Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Yeney Hernandez is prosecuting this case.

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Calif. Mom Who Killed Daughter, 2, by Leaving Girl Alone in Car with Heat Running Gets 14 Years in Prison

June Love Agosto, victim

A Rancho Palos Verdes woman was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years and eight months in state prison for the death of her 2-year-old daughter she left alone in a car in 2019.

Lacey Ana Mazzarella, 35, pleaded no contest on October 20 to one count each of voluntary manslaughter, mayhem and child abuse resulting in death.

Just before midnight on Sept. 22, 2019, Mazzarella left the baby, named June, in a car in West Carson. The child was left covered with a blanket and the heater on while Mazzarella drank alcohol in another nearby vehicle with a friend until she passed out, the prosecutor said.

When Mazzarella returned early the next morning, the child was dead and the engine and heater were still running, the prosecutor added.

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KTLA reported: When Mazzarella eventually woke up around 5 a.m., she found her daughter unresponsive, with vomit on her shirt and on the car seat, according to the coroner’s report. She took the 2-year-old out of the car, put her on the grass and sprayed her with a water hose in an attempt to cool her down, authorities said.

A call to 911 was placed but by the time the toddler arrived at the hospital, her temperature had reached 107.5 degrees, according to a coroner’s report. She also appeared to have burns on her face, chest and arms, and her eyes were cloudy, officials said.

Mazzarella has a history of drug abuse, and lost custody of another child — then 3 years old — eight years ago due to neglect, officials said.

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The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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U.S. Appeals Court upholds conviction, former Penn National horse trainer’s conviction, sentence

penn national

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on Jan. 11, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed both the conviction and 27-month prison sentence of Murray Rojas, age, 54, of Grantville, Pennsylvania. That sentence was imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo on May 6, 2019, after Rojas was convicted by a jury on multiple counts of causing prescription animal drugs to become misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), as well as conspiracy to commit misbranding.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, between 2002 and 2014, Rojas directed veterinarians to administer drugs to horses at Penn National Racetrack on race day in violation of track rules and state law. Rojas argued on appeal that the District Court failed to properly instruct the jury on the distinction between the terms “administer” and “dispense,” as used in the FDCA, as it pertained to Rojas directing vets to inject animal drugs into her horses on race day. The Court of Appeals disagreed and found that Congress intended the term “dispense” to include situations in which a veterinarian personally administers a drug, and that Rojas caused that unlawful dispensing when she ordered the veterinarians to inject the horses. The Court of Appeals also held that the government presented sufficient evidence at trial that Penn National veterinarians dispensed prohibited drugs when they injected Rojas’s horses within 24 hours of post time at Rojas’s direction, and that Rojas herself also injected the prohibited drugs into her horses within 24 hours of post time, all in violation of the FDCA.

The Court of Appeals also rejected Rojas’ claim that Judge Rambo erred in excluding evidence that the drugs given to the horses were for therapeutic purposes and were not performance enhancing drugs. The Court of Appeals held that Pennsylvania’s horse racing regulations prohibit administering almost all drugs to horses within 24 hours of post time and the regulations do not distinguish between therapeutic and performance-enhancing drugs.

Finally, the Court of Appeals upheld Judge Rambo’s sentencing Rojas for felony, rather than misdemeanor, misbranding violations. The Court of Appeals found that Rojas acted with the requisite intent to defraud or mislead, which is a requirement for a felony misbranding conviction.

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Chilling Video Shows Moments Before Man Is Killed While Walking His Dog

WPVI

The Philadelphia police department has released chilling video showing the moments leading up to the cold-blooded murder of a man walking his dog.

The department’s Homicide Unit is looking to identify the suspects, shown in the video below, as part of an investigation into the killing of 25-year-old Milan Loncar.

The crime occurred on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021, at about 6:56 PM, in the 3000 block of W. Jefferson Street.

Loncar, who was walking his dog, was approached by two people. During an apparent robbery one of the individuals points a handgun at the victim and then both suspects start reaching towards the victim’s pants pockets before the victim is shot one time in his chest. Loncar was later pronounced dead.

Both suspects fled on foot westbound on Jefferson and then southbound on 31st Street.

“He was the kindest person in the entire world. This is so screwed up,” Jelena Loncar said of her brother, a Temple University graduate. “He’s selfless, constantly smiling. … He’s so charismatic and kind.”

“I don’t know if he was targeted. I don’t know if they were going to rob anyone,” Loncar told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “If he’s walking his dog, why would he have a ton of cash on him? I don’t get it.”

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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Suspect #1: African American, medium height, slightly husky, wearing a black hooded jacket, black baseball hat, black face covering, black pants, distinct athletic type shoes.

Suspect #2: African American, medium height, thin, wearing a black puffy hooded jacket, white color face covering, light blue colored denim pants with light spots, black ankle high footwear with white soles.

Anyone with any information on this fatal shooting is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.

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Man arrested after threatening to shoot everyone at a Wingstop because his food wasn’t ready, deputies say

Constable Mark Herman

HOUSTON, Tx — On Thursday, deputies responded to a disturbance at the WingStop located in the 2500 block of FM 1960 Road. Witnesses said the suspect fled in a vehicle.

Responding Constable Deputies quickly located the vehicle nearby and conducted a traffic stop. The driver was identified as Tommye Nichols and was found to be in possession of a firearm.

Deputies say Tommye Nichols became upset due to his food not being ready and threatened to shoot everyone at the business. Witnesses said he walked to his car and retrieved a handgun and returned to the business, demanded his food and his money back and continued to make threats.

Nichols was arrested and booked into the Harris County Jail, charged with Aggravated Robbery with a Deadly Weapon. His bond was set at $60,000.00 out of the 183rd District Court.

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BLM Activist Arrested For Siege on U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Utah man was charged today in federal court in the District of Columbia in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

John Earle Sullivan, a Black Lives Matter Activist and anti-Trumper, was charged by complaint with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and one count of interfering with law enforcement engaged in the lawful performance of their official duties incident to and during the commission of civil disorder.

He was arrested today in Utah.

The Complaint alleges that during the events at the U.S. Capitol, Sullivan, wearing a ballistics vest and gas mask, entered the U.S. Capitol through a window that had been broken out, pushing past U.S. Capitol Police once inside. The Complaint also alleges that Sullivan admits to filming and being depicted in video footage that shows him present, outside of the Speaker’s Lobby within the U.S. Capitol, at the shooting of a woman by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

Sullivan claims he was only there to document the activity. He even appeared on CNN to describe his experience.

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“There’s this narrative going around right now that Antifa was the people there causing the riots, causing the tension, they were the only people breaking into the Capitol, and I wanted to be able to tell a part of history and show that that was anything but the case,” Sullivan, the founder of Insurgence USA, told Fox News Thursday.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Salt Lake City and Washington Field Offices, the U.S. Capitol Police Department, and the Metropolitan Police Department. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah.

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