NM Trump Lawyer Eastman Scoffs at Jan. 6 Criminal Referrals

Jan. 6 committee refers Trump, Eastman for prosecution

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol wrapped up its work yesterday in a final hearing that reviewed the highlights of its findings, provided some additional details and ultimately made four criminal referrals for former President Donald Trump: inciting or assisting an insurrection; obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress; conspiracy to defraud the United States; and conspiracy to make a false statement. The committee also made referrals for some of Trump’s associates, including Republican lawyer John Eastman, who owns a home in Santa Fe and is a registered voter in New Mexico. The committee released an executive summary of its findings yesterday that mentions Eastman 166 times and in which Eastman is identified as having written memos identifying means of stopping the certification of election results. The report also references Eastman’s failed lawsuit in which he attempted to keep his employer, Chapman University, from producing his emails for the committee. Federal District Court Judge David Carter, in that case, reviewed the emails, as well as evidence presented by the committee and Eastman and concluded Trump had likely violated two criminal statutes and Eastman at least one. In referencing those findings yesterday, US Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, noted: “Ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and ringleaders get a free pass.”

A statement on behalf of Eastman issued by his lawyers notes that the criminal referrals to the Department of Justice carry “no more legal weight than a ‘referral’ from any American citizen. In fact, a ‘referral’ from the January 6th committee should carry a great deal less weight due to the absurdly partisan nature of the process that produced it.” The statement goes on to criticize the committee’s work and says it “squandered” the opportunity to make “important contributions” to electoral reform by instead “concocting a pretend ‘criminal case’ from pretend prosecutors designed to create political advantage for the Democratic Party and stigmatize disfavored political groups.”

Moose on the loose

The state Department of Game and Fish yesterday reported the recent sighting of a bull moose near Ski Santa Fe, describing it as one of the southernmost sightings of a moose in New Mexico. According to a news release, there have been almost a dozen confirmed sightings of different moose in New Mexico over the past decade, and “this year, in particular, the department has received reports of multiple sightings and vast movements by this large mammal in the north-central portion of the state.” In fact, a moose was spotted near Mora last month and in Taos the month before that. Colorado, the news release notes, has more abundant habitat hospitable to moose—a cool climate and wetland habitats. Most of the New Mexico moose sightings involve “younger males emigrating from Colorado in search of new habitat and breeding opportunities. Females have been observed in New Mexico as well, but there are presently no known breeding populations of moose in the state.” Moose “can be dangerous and should not be approached for any reason,” Fish and Game says, and “if a moose charges you or otherwise shows signs of aggression, run as fast as you can and try to put a boulder, car, tree or other large object between you and it. An aggressive moose can show signs such as having its ears laid back, licking its snout or having hairs raised on its neck. The moose spotted near Ski Santa Fe is presently safe and appears healthy. The department continues to monitor the moose and anticipates it will continue to explore New Mexico.” Reminder that moose are a protected game animal in the state; there is no open hunting season for them here and it is unlawful to “harvest them” here.

FBI: Sextortion reports on the rise in NM

The FBI in New Mexico yesterday issued a warning about “a significant increase in the number of sextortion reports during the past year.” Specifically: between Jan. 1 to Dec. 19, 2022, the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center received 168 e-tips or calls about possible sextortion cases in New Mexico. During the same period in 2021, NTOC received 38 e-tips or calls for New Mexico. The warning was specifically targeted to parents and children, as the incidents involve ones in which children and teens are coerced into sending explicit images online and extorted for money. “The FBI and our partners have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the dangers of sextortion and the toll it takes on young victims,” Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division said in a statement. “We hope this latest announcement gets everyone’s attention. We want to help the children who are targeted by these predators, and one of the best ways to do that is for victims as well as parents or guardians to report this crime. Do not be embarrassed. Help us so we can help you.” More resources and information available here.

COVID-19 by the numbers

Reported Dec. 19New cases: 726 (includes the weekend); 655,717 total cases. Deaths: six; Santa Fe County has had 375 total deaths; 8,769; total fatalities statewide. Statewide hospitalizations: 122. Patients on ventilators: three

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent Dec. 15 “community levels” map, which uses a combination of hospital and case rate metrics to calculate COVID-19 risk for the prior seven-day period, shows three counties categorized as “orange”—high risk—for COVID-19, versus eight last week. They are: Union, Guadalupe and San Juan counties. Santa Fe County remains “green,” classified as lower risk. Fifteen counties are “yellow,” with medium risk. Corresponding recommendations for each level can be found here.

Resources: Receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests per household via COVIDTests.gov; Check availability for additional free COVID-19 tests through Project ACT; CDC interactive booster eligibility tool; NM DOH vaccine & booster registration; CDC isolation and exposure interactive tool; COVID-19 treatment info; NMDOH immunocompromised tool kit. People seeking treatment who do not have a medical provider can call NMDOH’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-600-3453. DOH encourages residents to download the NM Notify app and to report positive COVID-19 home tests on the app.

You can read all of SFR’s COVID-19 coverage here.

Listen up

New Mexico’s woodrats and kissing bugs feature in a recent episode of the health and science podcast The Pulse. Biologist Emily Pollom gives reporter Sam Schramski a tour of her property in Grant County and talks about kissing, conenose or vampire bugs, which carry a parasite that can cause Chagas disease.

How sweet it is

According to Google Trends, as reported by USA Today, New Mexicans search for “Christmas sugar cookies” more than any other holiday cookie. We find this confusing given that New Mexico has an official state cookie, the biscochito, which is clearly more delicious and interesting than Christmas sugar cookies. At any rate, the cookie trend story made us wonder what other searches purportedly trended around these parts in 2022. According to Google’s “Local Year in Search” (in which Santa Fe is considered part of Albuquerque and the surrounding area), people living here searched for “dispensary open near me” more than anywhere else in the US. Another top trending search here was “fingerprinting near me.” These seem plausible. Less understandable: Our top trending animal search was the great eared nightjar, which—according to the search we did after learning that fact—primarily lives in Southeast Asia. We also were the only locale where Italian wedding soup was the top trending recipe. In other trends, Candystore.com reports that according to its candy surveys, chocolate Santas are the most popular Christmas candy in New Mexico (followed by Pez in second place and candy canes in third). Lastly, apparently New Mexico’s most popular Christmas movie is Edward Scissorhands. And to all a good night.

Some like it hot

hot property on the market in New Mexico is making national news. Dubbed the “radioactive resort,” Radium Hot Springs Resort near Las Cruces is listed for nearly $2.5 million and, according to the Zillow listing, was built in 1930 by the Union Pacific Rail Road Company to serve as a hotel for “traveling guests.” The property includes mineral hot springs; three buildings—the main one originally had 15 bedrooms and now has eight master suites—with “several social areas.” The listing also includes 14 acres of land, approximately 1,500 feet of frontage to the river with three “three hot water wells and one cold well,” along with two outdoor pools with hot springs and 10 indoor single tubs. According to an article cited by the The Sacramento Bee, a brochure for the former resort says the history of Radium Springs, “the hottest, strongest natural radium springs in the world, dates back to the time when Indian tribes made pilgrimages here. The Springs became a sacred place, and no horseman was allowed to ride within a mile of the steaming waters. Even Geronimo, the famous Apache Chief, used to make his camp nearby, so he and his warriors could bathe in the revitalizing waters. Early Spanish settlers also used the Springs to rejuvenate themselves from the rigors of the New World, and later, soldiers from Fort Selden once again ‘discovered’ the beneficial powers of the Radium Springs.” The property also was featured on the Dec. 16 Friday Night Zillow episode.

Just chillin’

The National Weather Service forecasts another brisk day with mostly sunny skies, a high temperature near 40 degrees and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word is perusing which books enter the public domain in 2023 (Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop among them!)

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