Tag Archives: blackmail

Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy to be put ‘on trial’

U.S. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., and two other former members of the U.S. Senate will go “on trial” in Washington, D.C., for their alleged roles in the 1954 suicide of Sen. Lester C. Hunt of Wyoming. Sens. McCarthy, Styles Bridges, R-N.H., and Herman Welker, R-Idaho, all deceased, are “charged” with a criminal conspiracy to blackmail Hunt, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Senate office in 1954.

The mock trial of the three senators will be held at All Souls Church Unitarian on Oct. 23.

The “trial” is a readers’ theater presentation based on research conducted by Rodger McDaniel for his book “Dying for the Sins of Joe McCarthy-The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt.” Retired U.S. Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming will open the proceedings with an address to the mock court, jury and audience. Simpson’s father Milward L. Simpson, also a U.S. senator and a governor of Wyoming, was a close friend of Hunt.

Alan Simpson wrote the foreword to McDaniel’s book, saying it offers “a level of empathy to Lester Hunt’s life story that he richly deserves. The result is this book that finally offers Lester Hunt’s remaining family some form of justice – though belated.”

The Mattachine Society of Washington is sponsoring the event. MS president Charles Francis said, “What these men did to Lester Hunt was not just sharp-elbowed politics. This is the true story of a long covered-up criminal conspiracy to blackmail a sitting U.S. senator and take over the leadership of the United States Senate. It is time for this conspiracy to go before a jury – even in a mock trial – in Washington, D.C.”

McDaniel’s book includes never-before published evidence of the conspiracy against Hunt. He said, “This mock trial will leave no question a serious crime was committed. This was not an ordinary attempt to blackmail. This was an attack on our democracy and the U.S. Senate itself. The goal of the perpetrators was not simply to force a colleague to resign. It was a political take-over of one of the most important and revered institutions of our government. In some countries it would have rightly been called a ‘putsch.’

“In 1954 there was no investigation of the facts leading to Sen. Hunt’s death. Although nearly six decades have passed, newly discovered evidence calls for a formal review of the matter by the US Department of Justice.”

Retired Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden will preside over the trial.

Trevor Potter, the Washington attorney widely known for the creation of the Colbert Super PAC, will play the part of the prosecuting attorney. Potter was general counsel for the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of U.S. Sen. John McCain. He was deputy general counsel for the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush.

Mindy Daniels, a prominent Washington criminal defense lawyer and a former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance of Washington, D.C., will serve as defense counsel for the three former senators.

A jury of local citizens will hear the case and render a historic verdict.  Robert Raben, former U.S. assistant attorney general and longtime counsel to retired U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, will play the role of jury foreman. Verizon legislative affairs executive Ed Senn will play McCarthy.

The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Some more background on the case: Lester Hunt, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1948. He was twice elected governor and twice elected secretary of state after serving in the Wyoming legislature. He committed suicide on June 19, 1954, a year after his son and namesake was arrested in Lafayette Park for soliciting sex from an undercover male policeman. McCarthy, Bridges and Welker attempted to leverage young Hunt’s arrest into Sen. Hunt’s resignation at a time when the shift of one seat would give control of the senate to the GOP.

Alan Simpson, in the foreword for McDaniel’s book, wrote, “When Lester Hunt arrived in Washington in 1949, he witnessed the rising tide of McCarthyism. His was one of the few early voices to call it for what it was.” Speaking of the events leading to Senator Hunt’s suicide Simpson wrote, “What was done to Lester Hunt passed all boundaries of decency and exposed an evil side of politics most would always seek to avoid.”

McDaniel said, “Holding the mock trial in Washington finally allows long-hidden senate history to be revealed. Homophobia combined with the stigma of suicide to hide the facts surrounding Senator Hunt’s suicide for six decades. The legacies of Senators Bridges, Welker and McCarthy are incomplete unless the shameful history of the scar they inflicted on the integrity of the United States Senate is told in the nation’s capitol where these events took place in 1953 and 1954.”

Sen. Simpson said, “This book finally offers Lester Hunt’s remaining family some form of justice – though belated.”

Anti-immigrant sheriff wins easily in Arizona

The self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America breezed past two little-known opponents to win a sixth term as Maricopa County sheriff Nov. 6 after facing the most bruising political challenge of his long career, forcing him to plow millions of dollars into the race to fend off the challenge.

Republican Joe Arpaio easily beat Democrat Paul Penzone and independent Mike Stauffer.

Metro Phoenix’s longtime sheriff had faced heavy criticism that he has focused too much on investigations that bring him publicity and ignored many of the law enforcement duties he was hired to do.

“You will have to deal with me for another eight years,” the 80-year-old sheriff said late Nov. 6, vowing to run for a seventh term in 2016 and to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.

Also on Nov. 6, the county immediately south of metro Phoenix re-elected gay Republican incumbent Paul Babeu. The two-term Babeu defeated Democrat Kevin Taylor and independent Ty Morgan in the Pinal County sheriff’s race.

Babeu was forced to come out as gay after stories emerged earlier this year of a falling out with a former lover and shirtless photos of him on a gay dating website came to light. Babeu pulled out of the race for a congressional seat after the news broke.

Penzone said his biggest challenge in the campaign was to present voters with a more qualified candidate, rather than focusing on Arpaio’s failures as a law enforcement leader.

“We needed more traction and more opportunity to get our message out,” Penzone said.

Arpaio has been dogged by revelations that his office failed to adequately investigate hundreds of sex-crimes cases – including dozens of alleged child molestations – and allegations that his deputies have racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols.

The sheriff’s office reopened more than 400 sex-crimes cases that were reported to the agency but were inadequately investigated or not investigated at all after they were reported over a three-year period ending in 2007.

A city that had contracted with Arpaio’s office for police services had concluded there were many cases in which sheriff’s investigators wrote no follow-up reports, collected no additional forensic evidence and made zero effort after the initial report of the crime was taken. The city concluded some cases were no longer viable, in part, because victims had either moved away or otherwise moved on.

The sheriff’s office has said it has moved to clear up the inadequately investigated cases and has taken steps to prevent the problem from happening again.

While the sheriff’s immigration enforcement has made him popular among some voters, it has led to two lawsuits that alleged racial profiling in his immigration patrols.

A federal judge heard of one of the lawsuits this summer and hasn’t yet issued his ruling. The lawsuit filed by a small group of Latinos will serve as a precursor for a similar yet broad civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Arpaio spent $6 million during the campaign, while Penzone spent $664,000.

Former gubernatorial candidate accused of blackmailing undocumented workers

A man alleges in federal court that a former conservative candidate for governor in Oregon put his undocumented family to forced labor by threatening deportation.

Two years ago, in his failed campaign for governor, Republican William Ames Curtright released his “illegal immigration plan,” saying, “We need to aggressively address the issue of illegal immigration that is taking a toll on state services.”

Curtright proposed requiring all businesses that work with the state to verify worker’s immigration status, create stronger penalties for those possessing fake ID cards, verifying the citizenship of everyone appearing in a state court, requiring identification for state and local services, withholding funds to cities that “participate in the sanctuary policy for illegal immigrants.”

Now Curtright faces a federal lawsuit that says he blackmailed an undocumented immigrant family into working for him.

The suit filed by Trinidad Zavala names Curtright and his company, Ames Research Laboratories, as defendants.

Zavala claims Curtright hired him knowing he was undocumented but then fired him during his campaign for fear of exposure. Curtright then allegedly rehired Zavala and his family to take care of his mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, for less than minimum wage.

The complaint, reported on by Courthouse News Service, says, “Not wanting to pay for care of his mother, under threats of deportation, Curtright forced plaintiff and his family to care for Curtright’s mother 24 hours a day in their home.

“Curtright forced plaintiff to move his youngest child out of his bedroom to sleep on the living room floor so that the child’s room could be used for the care of Ms. Theiman.”

The complaint also states, “Curtright made it clear that he was politically connected, had been a candidate for governor and had friends who would deport plaintiff and his family.”

Curtright lost a 2010 primary race for the gubernatorial nomination in Oregon. The top contributor to his campaign was his company. He personally was the No. 2 contributor.

Gay matchmaker catering to professional clients

Lawyers, doctors, politicians. A new matchmaking service is catering to gay professionals who “want to avoid gay dating frustrations and relationship disasters present in today’s risky gay dating scene.”

The VIP Executive Gay Matchmaking service founded by Paul Angelo promises confidentiality, speed and safety for “gay business owners, gay lawyers, gay doctors, gay politicians and other successful gay professionals.”

The applicants must register for a consultation and, if they qualify, take a 200-question test. A background check and HIV test also are required.

Angelo said he offers candidates the security of “knowing that you will not be taken advantage of financially or blackmailed, knowing for sure that the men are healthy and represent the highest standard of gay living – all are reasons why working with me is valuable.”

He also said, “I will not bend rules just because someone is good looking and has a large penis.”

Angelo came to the United States from Poland. He lived in Chicago for 10 years and then Miami. He quit his job as a health IT manager to become a gay matchmaker.

Download a PDF of the current issue of Wisconsin Gazette and join our Facebook community.