Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 6

It is back to the saga at hand…this time it is the president’s team doing their level best to subvert the course of justice (as they say on Law and Order)…

Day 6 analysis……but first the fall-out of the Bolton thing……

Democrats say new allegations from John Bolton make it essential that witnesses be called to testify in the Senate impeachment trial that resumes Monday. The big question: Will four Republicans—the magic number needed to make it happen—agree? That remains unclear, but the GOP’s Mitt Romney suggests the odds are rising. “It’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” he said, per Politico. “I have spoken with others who have opined upon this.” His comments came in the wake of a report in the New York Timesabout Bolton’s upcoming book. In it, the former national security adviser reportedly asserts that Trump directly linked Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens.

Trump has issued a fresh denial of that. Also Monday, another moderate Republican, Susan Collins, sounded like she was even more squarely in the pro-witness camp. “I’ve always said that I was likely to vote to call witnesses, just as I did in the 1999 Clinton trial,” she said, per the Washington Post. “The reports about John Bolton’s book strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.” A third possibility is Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, notes the Hill, but things get tougher after that. One key Republican to watch is thought to be Lamar Alexander.

The GOP and the president’s team continue their opening remarks…..

The second day of President Trump’s defense in his impeachment trial has resumed in the Senate, though a big new wrinkle has emerged in the form of John Bolton. The former national security adviser’s upcoming book reportedly alleges that Trump directly linked Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens, a development that is raising calls for Bolton to be called as a witness. That won’t be decided until after Trump’s defense team has finished its arguments, which will probably be Tuesday. Coverage:

  • Big name: Kenneth Starr, a member of Trump’s legal team, told senators the charges should be dismissed because Trump did not commit an actual crime, reports the Washington Post. He said that was not true in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, in which Starr played a key role. “The nation’s most recent experience, the Clinton impeachment—even though severely and roundly criticized—charged crimes,” he said. After faulting the House for passing these new articles of impeachment, he added: “I respectfully submit that the Senate should close this chapter, this idiosyncratic chapter, on this increasingly disruptive act.”
  • Dershowitz, too: Another big name on Trump’s team, Alan Dershowitz, is expected to speak Monday and make a similar argument, reports the Hill. (Dershowitz has shifted his thinking on this, having argued the opposite in regard to Clinton back in 1998.)
  • Trump: Speaking to reporters at the White House Monday, Trump called the new Bolton allegation “false,” per the AP. He also said he has not read the manuscript of Bolton’s memoir, which is currently under review by the National Security Council.
  • A block? CNN reports that Republican leaders are working on a strategy to block Bolton’s testimony, in case enough votes surface to call him. The argument is that the Senate is not obligated to look for new evidence to buttress articles of impeachment passed by the House.

Not to worry Day 7 will prove to be less informative than Day 6….but I will be here to let you know what you missed…..

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Senate Impeachment Trial–Day Of Rest

The Senate is taking a much deserved break from hearing the accounts from both sides of the Pres. Trump’s evidence for the trial.

So while they are busy sucking up to donors I would like to update my reader on what the polls are showing about the trial…..

So without further ado….let’s go to the polls……

Hoping the impeachment trial will sway Republicans or spark angry calls to Capitol Hill? Maureen Dowd’s column is a cold splash in the face. The New York Times writer describes bored senators, GOP staffers celebrating at night, and Democratic office phones sitting in silence. “Nobody cares,” a Dem staffer tells her. “It’s the saddest thing ever.” Dowd relishes an occasional verbal punch by House managers, but little else. “The more impressive the Democrats’ case is, the more depressing the reality becomes,” she writes. “They want to convince themselves that character matters. But many Americans knew they were voting for a thug. They wanted a thug who would bust up Washington, and they got one.” In other commentary:

  • Can the House really claim President Trump violated the Constitution by resisting Congressional subpoenas? “The President [then] becomes a vassal of king Congress,” writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board. “This is another reason for the Senate to repudiate this House impeachment as its own abuse of power.”
  • “Don’t bore your audience,” writes Michael Hirsh at Foreign Policy. “It is the injunction delivered to every TV and movie producer, and to every lawyer seeking to win over a jury.” Hirsh says Democrats “botched their case less through lack of evidence than an excess of verbiage.”
  • “Senate Republicans are growing confident that this is now the defense team’s trial to lose,” writes Lauren Fox at CNN. Republicans hope the legal team will avoid long attacks on the Bidens “or any tangents that alienate moderate Republican senators whose votes on witnesses are on the line.”
  • The Washington Post editorial board warns Republicans against dismissing the evidence. Those who do “will be reduced to watching in the months and years to come as the case against him—and against their abdication of constitutional duty—grows steadily stronger.”
  • Bradley Blakeman slams senators in both parties for coming and going during the trial and chatting with the press. “If a citizen-juror acted like a Senate juror, he or she would be removed and held in contempt of court,” he writes at the Hill.

After this break we will be watching Day 6 with analysis to follow……

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Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 5

Is it snowing in Hell?

I ask because the Senate will be in session for the impeachment trial of Trump on Saturday.

Today will be the start of the Trump’s team presentation….

  • Trump unhappy: The president tweeted Friday that he’s not thrilled with how the impeachment schedule has fallen. “After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump wrote.
  • Short Saturday: This should help Trump’s concern about Saturday: That day’s session will be short, reports the Hill. It’s scheduled to begin at 10am and wrap up two hours later. The trial would then resume on Monday.

So what happened on Saturday—Day 5—of the impeachment drama?

Enter the defense. President Trump’s legal team, led by personal lawyer Jay Sekulow and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, gave a two-hour presentation Saturday morning against impeaching the president, the Washington Post reports. This after House managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff, argued that Trump had abused his power and obstructed Congress over his dealings with Ukraine. Trump is accused of withholding military aid in return for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordering an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Among highlights in the Senate presentation:

  • ‘Dangerous’: Out of the gate, Cipollone argued that removing Trump would be a “very, very dangerous” precedent for overturning an election. “They come here to the Senate, and they ask you to remove a president, tear up the ballots in all of your states, and they don’t bother to read the key evidence of the discussion of burden-sharing that’s in the call itself,” he said.
  • ‘Not a Real Call’: The team showed a video of Schiff embellishing on a rough transcript of Trump’s call to Zelensky. “That’s fake, that’s not the real call,” said White House deputy counsel Michael Purpura. (Schiff has said at separate times that he was either communicating the gist of Trump’s call or parodying it.)
  • Corruption’: Purpura said the July 25 call to Zelensky was “in line with the Trump administration’s legitimate concerns about corruption” in Ukraine. (Yet the word “corruption” never came up in the call, the Post notes.)
  • Quid pro quo: Purpura also argued that there was no quid pro quo in the call, per the New York Times. “There couldn’t possibly have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians didn’t know the security assistance was on hold” before Politico reported it, he said. “There can’t be a threat without the person knowing he’s being threatened.” (The quid pro quo argument hinges on a phrase Trump used in the call.)
  • Witnesses: Trump’s lawyers are also attacking witness testimony over the alleged quid pro quo, the Wall Street Journal reports. They showed video of Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland saying “presume” and “presumption” in regard to the claim.
  • Subpoenas: Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin defended the White House blockade against subpoenas for witnesses and documents, saying—among other things—that the House didn’t hold a full vote to launch the inquiry. “The subpoenas weren’t authorized because there was no vote or the subpoenas were to senior advisers to the president who are immune from congressional compulsion,” he said in part.
  • Whistleblower: Philbin also attacked the notion of building an impeachment case on an anonymous whistleblower, saying “you would want to find out something about the complainant that had started it all…” (But there’s an argument for keeping whistleblowers anonymous.)
  • Cough drops: Some senators looked weary Saturday, yawning, stretching, and blowing or wiping their noses. Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) was offered cough drops by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
  • ‘Shredded’: Republicans praised the lawyers’ two-hour presentation, with several saying they had “shredded” the House case. “It took less than two hours to completely shred and eviscerate Adam Schiff’s failed case for impeachment,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
  • Schiff disagrees: “They don’t contest the facts of Trump’s scheme,” he tweeted. “They’re trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth. And they are continuing to cover it up by blocking documents and witnesses.”
  • Sunday off: Trump’s defense will resume on Monday at 1pm EST.

Holy Crap!

I thought the Dems look silly at times….well they have nothing on the defense team for the president…..

This was a day of silly rhetoric….

Day 6 will continue on Monday…..

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Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 4

I apologize for the detour in my weekend posts but the impeachment trial is too important to ignore.  I hope that this does not spoil and otherwise calm weekend.

What seems like the “Never Ending Story” continues and we mere mortals are standing on the sidelines watching this farce of a legal proceeding.

Fidget spinners. Rule-breaking and evident boredom among senators is becoming a theme as the trial progresses. The New York Times reports that senators, who are supposed to sit and silently listen, have taken to wandering outside the chamber, often to the cloakrooms where their electronic devices are stores. At lunch, GOP Sen. Richard Burr handed out fidget spinners to his 52 colleagues.

Republicans don’t want a speedy acquittal. Politico reports that while most Senate Republicans are ready to acquit Trump, they would prefer Trump’s lawyers to offer a substantial, fact-based defense instead of “phoning it in.” “The president’s team … has never presented its case since it did not do so in the House,” says GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who is considered one of the few possible swing votes.

I agree with Chris Hayes on these proceedings……

“Most of those people have other jobs they have to take leave from,” he exclaimed. “If the trial goes for a long time, often they don’t collect their paycheck from that and are given a meager amount of money relative to what some of those people might make.” “These peoples’ jobs is to do this,” Hayes continued. “This is literally their job. If you find it too annoying or frustrating or uncomfortable to sit for eight hours and listen, you can resign tomorrow and go get another job!”

I agree for if I acted like these immature twats in the Senate while serving on a jury I would be held in contempt and gone to jail to think about my attitude….time to teach these Senators that their actions are insulting to the laws of this nation then laws they swore to uphold and protect.

Sorry I needed to get that off my chest.

Day 4 proceedings in the US Senate…….but first a little observations……

Democratic House impeachment managers are in their final day of arguments against President Trump. Friday’s focus: obstruction of justice. The impeachment managers are asserting that Trump withheld crucial documents and blocked the testimony of top White House officials, reports the Wall Street Journal. “The president tried to cheat,” said impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries at the start of Friday’s session, per CNN. “He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up.” As for the delay in US aid to Ukraine at the heart of the controversy: “The $391 million in security aid was only released because President Trump was caught red-handed,” said Jeffries. Related:

  • Invoking McCain: Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff put the case-to-impeach this way: “If someone sacrifices the national interest in favor of his own and is not removed from office, our democracy is in jeopardy. It’s just that simple.” He also invoked the late John McCain, who said in 2014 after a Russian incursion into Ukraine: “We are all Ukrainians.” He said McCain “advised that this is a chess match reminiscent of the Cold War, and we need to realize that and act accordingly,” Schiff said, per the Washington Post. “He was, of course, absolutely right.” He also played a video clip of McCain extolling the beauty and importance of that country, notes Politico.

Witness protection: Trump’s effort to obstruct justice reached witnesses in the House investigation, Rep. Val Demings told the Senate. She brought up his tweet about Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine, during her testimony and showed video of his attacks on others. It adds up to witness intimidation, she said, per the Post. “We must not condone President Trump’s attacks on whistleblowers and witnesses,” Demings said.

Trump unhappy: The president tweeted Friday that he’s not thrilled with how the impeachment schedule has fallen. “After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump wrote.

Short Saturday: This should help Trump’s concern about Saturday: That day’s session will be short, reports the Hill. It’s scheduled to begin at 10am and wrap up two hours later. The trial would then resume on Monday.

Watch Lamar: Senators won’t decide on whether to call witnesses until after opening arguments, and it all hinges on whether Democrats can get four Republicans to vote with them. Politico reports that GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is the key vote. Three other senators already have voiced some degree of support about witnesses, and Alexander, who is retiring this year, could be the deciding factor.

Believe it or not….but the Senate will do something they rarely do….work on Saturday.

Day 5 coming up!

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Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 3

The drama continues…..theatrics abounds…..and mind numbing yada yada…….but someone must take it upon needs to report the soul sucking saga…..

Day Three and nothing has really changed in the attitudes of the belligerents…..it is still a tragedy in many parts……

Day 3 of President Trump’s impeachment trial is underway, and Democratic impeachment managers plan to focus much of the day’s arguments on the abuse-of-power allegation against the president, reports the Hill. “The Constitution is not a suicide pact,” said one of those managers, Rep. Jerry Nadler. It “does not leave us stuck with presidents who abuse their power in unforeseen ways that threaten our security and democracy.” Coverage:

  • Early slam: Nadler told senators that Trump’s conduct “puts even Richard Nixon to shame,” reports Politico. “This conduct is not ‘America First,’” he said, a nod to Trump’s campaign slogan. “This conduct is Donald Trump first.”
  • About-face? Nadler also sought to use Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz’s own words against him, reports the Washington Post. He played a video of Dershowitz in 1998 speaking about the Bill Clinton impeachment and asserting that no crime was necessary to impeach. “It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and poses great danger to our liberty,” said Dershowitz, who has since changed his view. (Dershowitz was grilled about this by Anderson Cooper.) Nadler made similar points about previous comments by Lindsey Graham and Attorney General Barr.
  • Defending Biden: Rep. Sylvia Garcia, another of the impeachment managers, defended Joe Biden’s actions toward Ukraine when he was vice president. “The allegations against Biden are completely groundless,” Garcia said, referring to Biden’s efforts to get Ukraine’s prosecutor general ousted because of corruption allegations. Biden’s actions were in sync with US policy, unlike Trump’s, she said. Republicans say Biden was trying to protect his son.
  • Rand’s doodle: Rand Paul spent the early part of the day doodling an image of the US Capitol, notes the New York Times. But then Garcia played a video clip of State Department official George Kent being asked whether Republicans such as Paul believed that what Biden did is the same as what Trump did. “Looking up from his doodle, Mr. Paul smiled and raised a fist with his index finger extended, as if to say, ‘Yes!'” per the Times. “Then, when Mr. Kent answered by saying that what Mr. Biden did was very different than what Mr. Trump did, Mr. Paul lowered his arm.”
  • Graham’s timing: Nadler rolled out a video clip of Graham speaking years ago as one of Clinton’s impeachment managers. “What’s a high crime?” he asked then. “How about an important person hurts someone of low means? It’s not very scholarly but I think it’s the truth.” However, Graham wasn’t actually in his seat when the clip came out because he had left the chamber. Politico suspects he knew the video was coming. On his return, fellow Republican Ben Sasse whispered something to him and Graham chuckled.
  • Hacking theory: Lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff said a “completely bogus” theory often cited by Trump that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the 2016 election actually came from the Kremlin. He also noted speculation that Trump was heavily swayed by Rudy Giuliani. “You can say a lot of things about President Trump, but he is not led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani.”
  • Short Saturday: It looks like the Senate will opt for a short Saturday session that begins early and wraps up in the morning, reports CNN. The plan isn’t finalized yet, but few senators are expected to object—especially the Democrats running for president who might hightail it for Iowa. No session will be held on Sunday.

I realize that few are actually reading this analyses….but there may be some that actually care about the ramifications of these accusations…..I do this for them.

Day 3 came to an end…..but not mercifully.

Sadly to me it looks like a mockery in process……https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/23/a-cesspool-of-constitutional-nonsense-impeachment-in-the-senate/

I will return for the analysis of Day 4…….

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Senate Impeachment Trial–Day 2

The REAL news was the revelation the US invented the wheel….how could history be so wrong?

But now back to the mundane……the sage continues….Roberts scolds Senators for childish behavior…..Dems continue to make their case…..

Chief Justice John Roberts told House impeachment managers and administration lawyers to remember where they were, Washington Post reports. “I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.” He was speaking after an angry exchange between House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Trump lawyers Pat Cippolone and Jay Sekulow.

Day Two was just about as boring as Day One…..

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester described the first day of President Trump’s impeachment trial, which clocked in at nearly 13 hours, as “like sitting on a tractor,” reports NBC News. And it’s back on the tractor today: With the rules for the trial now set, House managers led by Rep. Adam Schiff on Wednesday started their opening arguments. They have up to 24 hours, spread over three days, to make their case. Schiff spoke first and began by quoting Alexander Hamilton, who warned of a future leader whom Hamilton described as “a man unprincipled in private life, desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits, despotic in his ordinary demeanor, known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty.”

  • Hamilton and the other founding fathers created impeachment as a protection against such a president, said Schiff, who spoke of taking “this solemn action, for only the third time in history, because Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries feared.”
  • AP White House reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that the White House busily emailed responses to Schiff, citing “7 in last 45 min,” among them, “President Trump Has Been Completely Transparent with the American People.”
  • CNN notes some of the talking points to come out of the White House invoked Hamilton too: “Our founding fathers feared that impeachment would be abused as a partisan tool—rather than the grave remedy it was intended to be. Hamilton and Jefferson warned about a majority using impeachment for political purposes.”
  • Prior to entering the Senate chamber, Schiff spoke with reporters and gave a broad outline of today’s plan, per the Washington Post: “We will begin our trial with the factual chronology. The facts are damning. We’re going to lay them out in great detail in our chronology today.” He spoke for 2.5 hours and said the six other House impeachment managers (Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia) would each present a portion of the opening arguments.
  • As Schiff spoke, Trump tweeted from Air Force One, writing in quotation marks, “NO PRESSURE,” an apparent reference to his dealings with the Ukraine.
  • In regards to the president’s Ukraine call, Schiff had this to say: “The counsel for the president would like you to think this is just about that call … They don’t want you to look at the months that went into preparing for that call, or the months of pressure that followed.”
  • CNN notes Schiff also dismissed the idea of allowing witnesses Democrats want to hear from in exchange for also allowing witnesses the GOP wants (ie, John Bolton and Hunter Biden, respectively). “This isn’t a fantasy football trade,” he said, panning the idea of “offer[ing] a witness irrelevant and immaterial with no relevant testimony but a witness that allows us to smear a presidential candidate if you give us a witness. That’s not a trade. Trials aren’t trades for witnesses.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also later dismissed that idea.
  • As of this posting, Nadler, Garcia, and Crow had taken their turns presenting their portion of the opening statement and Jeffries was up (a protester briefly interrupted the proceedings during Jeffries’ remarks). As the afternoon wore on, CNN noted a few senators had abandoned their seats, though some could still be seen in the chamber. Republican Sen. John Cornyn summed things up thusly: “I think we’re already beginning to lose certainly the television audience and maybe the press to some extent, but certainly senators are struggling to try to see why we have to sit there, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over and over again.”
  • CNN and the Guardian also reported senators were seen filling out crossword puzzles, pacing, eating candy, and, in Ben Sasse’s case, “shoving unidentified pieces of food into his mouth.” Some were also drinking milk: As the site explains, milk and water are the only beverages allowed on the Senate floor during the trial.

Another long day……more to come…..

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Closing Thought–22Jan20

I live in Mississippi and from time I write about to doings in my state….I do not write much for I do not think that too many are interested in the policies and events in Mississippi

But since a good portion of the population of my state is in prison or have been in jail…I read an article about the so-called “restitution program”…..

Debtors’ prison may sound like a concept from another century. But the Marshall Project asserts that Mississippi is running a court-ordered restitution program that is essentially the same thing. The investigation found that judges sentence hundreds of people a year to one of four “restitution centers” around the state. There they must live while they work off court-ordered debts, including fees, fines, and restitution to victims. One big problem is that most of the workers have low-paying jobs, making their stays at the centers open-ended. And “centers” might be overstating things. One is described as a motel-turned-jail that is surrounded by razor wire. The residents sleep on prison-issued mattresses, eat the same food as inmates, and generally have the same restrictions.

“We don’t know of any other states that have a program quite like Mississippi’s,” says Sharon Brett of Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program. The story by Anna Wolfe and Michelle Liu also includes this quote from Cliff Johnson of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi. “Debtors’ prisons are an effective way of collecting money—as is kidnapping. But there are constitutional, public policy and moral barriers to such a regime.” The program has its defenders, including a judge who says it’s better than sending people to regular prison. One woman who went through it isn’t so sure. Annita Husband ended up escaping from her center. When caught, she went to prison for 10 months, about half as long as she would have spent at the center had she stayed and paid off the debt under its system.

I have thought that it was beyond time for reform in our penal systems and programs…..like why is there little training offered or educational programs?

While writing this draft more news about Mississippi penal system came to light……

Two inmates were beaten to death in a fight with other inmates in an understaffed Mississippi prison that has been shaken by other deadly violence in recent weeks, a coroner said. The state Department of Corrections on Tuesday confirmed the men died at Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman and said officials are investigating, the AP reports. “Both victims appear to have died from blunt force beating injuries,” said Sunflower County Coroner Heather Burton. The department originally said the inmates died Monday night, but Burton later clarified that they died early Tuesday. Department spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher said the injuries occurred late Monday as the two inmates fought with other prisoners. “At this moment, it appears to be an isolated incident—not a continuation of the recent retaliatory killings,” the Department of Corrections said Tuesday.

Violence is a recurring problem in Mississippi prisons, where many jobs for guards are unfilled. Five inmates were killed and an undisclosed number of others inmates were injured during an outbreak of violence in Mississippi’s prison system between Dec. 29 and Jan. 3. Three of those five deaths were at Parchman. In addition to those deaths and the two on Tuesday, another inmate was found hanging in his cell Saturday night at Parchman. Burton said she was called Sunday to the prison, where Gabriel Carmen was found hanging the night before. She said corrections officials reported he had been irate and throwing feces before his death. An autopsy was being done. Prison officials said Carmen’s cell lock had been jammed from inside the cell. One of the inmates who died Tuesday was Timothy Hudspeth, 35, who was serving a 10-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The name of the other inmate was not immediately released because a chaplain was trying to reach his family.

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