Via America’s Lawyer: Banking giant Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $10 million after regulators discovered that the bank wasn’t complying with anti-money laundering regulations. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss. Also, legal Journalist Mollye Barrows joins Mike Papantonio to talk about an unexpected act of Mercy in Tennessee with the Cyntoia Brown case.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Banking giant Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $10 million dollars after regulators discovered that the bank wasn’t complying with anti money laundering regulations. You know, here again, how many times have we done the story on HSBC? Let me lay it out real quick. They’ve heard it before. I think it’s such a critical story. Bankers now have figured out that laundering money is very profitable. Who are they laundering it for? We found HSBC and a half a dozen other banks that were laundering money for drug cartels. They knew that, Mexican drug cartels. We found banks that were laundering money for terrorist cells all over the world. They knew they were laundering money they knew was causing, you know, Americans deaths, soldiers’ deaths. They knew that.

As a matter of fact, here’s what really bothers me about his story. Maybe you can help me on this. You know who the people were behind the deal that was worked out with HSBC? I mean this sweetheart deal where they paid $1.9 billion dollars on HSBC. Nobody went to prison. They signed a document that admitted to criminal conduct, one to write, 12 elements of criminal conduct that anybody else would be in prison today for. You know who cut the deal? Mueller, Loretta Lynch and Comey. I want you to think about that. These are, you always hear about this, you always hear about this inside game that exists in Washington.

Who are these people that move from, they move from board of directors here, to the board of directors there? They move out of justice and move to this board of directors case, story. So all of a sudden we’re now looking at this and we find out that the people who actually negotiated this made it happen was Mueller who now is investigating Trump and I guess everybody else in the country. This is the guy that cut the sweetheart deal with HSBC.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             So give me your take on how, how are we affected when we say to Morgan Stanley, gee guys, we know you’re laundering money, pay $10 million dollars and go your way. What’s your reaction to that?

Farron Cousins:                  Right, they had, you know, after the big banking collapse, these new rules were put in place that said, this is what banks, you’re legally required to do to make sure you’re not laundering money for terrorists or drug cartels, and for six years Morgan Stanley just wasn’t doing it and they had tens of billions of dollars coming through their bank that they knew this was probably dirty money. They can’t say for sure that it was or wasn’t, but they knew that it probably was. And so now they say, okay, well you’ve made billions off this, so we’re gonna, we’re gonna have to fine you 10 million, million with an m not billion with a b. After they made billions in profits from no complying.

Mike Papantonio:             Here’s what I think is even more important. Morgan Stanley knew that HSBC and a half a dozen other banks had been caught. Dirty, filthy hands where they’re caught laundering money for terrorists. They’re caught laundering money for drug cartels in Mexico. They get away with it because Mueller, Loretta Lynch and Comey say, well gee, we can work out a deal here can’t we? You pay one point $9 billion dollars. Nobody gets prosecuted. Not one soul was prosecuted in that case. Even though you at HSBC had to sign off on a document that we’re 10 elements all admitting, yes, we engaged in criminal conduct. Yes, we knew what we were doing was wrong.

Yes, we knew that, that because of what we’re doing, Americans were being killed. That’s how serious this is. Now Morgan Stanley says, well God, I guess you know, since nobody was prosecuted, I guess we can get away with it. Unless you throw these cats in prison. Culture doesn’t change. HSBC takes place. We know they’re criminals. They, they committed criminal conduct. Morgan Stanley looks at that. They say, oh, well they had to do was pay $1.9 billion dollars and oh, by the way, they made $20 billion dollars, so why don’t we do the same thing?

Farron Cousins:                  It’s a great investment.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s a really good investment if you think about it. Farron Cousins, thanks for joining me. These stories every week get stranger and stranger.

Mike Papantonio:             Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, a woman’s serving life in prison for killing a man who paid her to have sex when she was 16 years old. Activists put Brown’s case in the media spotlight saying the teen was being exploited for sex at the time that the murder took place and many celebrities have picked up this cause. You know, this is a grab bag here.

I’ve got Mollye Barrows to talk about this. You followed, interesting thing about your career as an anchor in the news, is you have followed many stories like this. Most of the time they centered around police officers and that type of abuse. But as I’m looking at this case and you look at the story surrounding it. You got really a big divergence, you’re saying no, she was 16, but she didn’t have to murder the guy. It wasn’t like there was no need for the murder.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             So, so the other side of it is, well, she was 16 and she was being exploited. Give me your take on this.

Mollye Barrows:                Well, it’s interesting. I think there has been a lot of support for this Governor’s decision. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, decided earlier this month that she deserved clemency and so she’ll get out August 7th. She’s already served 15 years. She was sentenced to life in prison for shooting this man to death. Forty three year old. Let’s see. He was Johnny Allen, an Asheville real estate agent. He paid her pimp to have sex with her. Picked her up at a fast food parking lot, took her back to his house.

She shot him, killed him, robbed him, took his gun as well as his wallet, and in fact the officer on the case investigated it, felt like she didn’t deserve clemency, but I think in light of the me too movement, when you have so many people saying, you know, women are being exploited, this case deserves another look at it. Not only what she sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile, which has Supreme Court ramifications now, but she also was being exploited for sex. She wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with. She was already the victim of a crime. So for her to commit this other crime, that’s what advocates are saying.

Mike Papantonio:             But if you follow, now as you know, I handle sex trafficking cases all over the country. I mean we, we are probably one firm that is committed to handling sex trafficking cases.

Mollye Barrows:                Yes.

Mike Papantonio:             But in a sex trafficking case, the people we’re going after are the people who are responsible for the trafficking. In this situation, if she’s going to kill somebody, kill the pimp.

Mollye Barrows:                Right.

Mike Papantonio:             So I mean if you follow the rationale. Well she was being exploited. She was being exploited by the John, no question about it. And he deserved, I don’t know if he deserved being killed, but he deserves some element of punishment. The pimp is the person who put us, put her there and she had been with, she had been with the pimp a couple of years, been on the street a couple of years. I don’t, I can see why the public is split on this.

Mollye Barrows:                Yeah, and it’s interesting the reaction because she had a lot of celebrity support. I think it is one that is worthy of conversation regardless of where you fall in the decision to grant her clemency. Because I think there are so many things that are wrong with this situation. She’s certainly grateful to the Governor. She thanked him for his decision and said, thank you for having the faith in me to make this decision, but you know, it is a political one to a great extent. Tennessee is a red state. The Republican Governor is, well he’s a Republican as well, but Nashville itself is blue. He had pressure from the city council there in Nashville as well as the Mayor to make this decision.

Mike Papantonio:             The parole board.

Mollye Barrows:                The parole board was even split. You have a six-member board, two wanted her to say, time served already at 15 years. Two wanted her to not be eligible for parole for many more years and two said she shouldn’t be out at all.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay, something I see on the story that is interesting to me because we’ve talked about it before. The term is celebrity cool. Okay. Celebrity cool is somebody in Hollywood says, gee, this is terrible. Let me get involved. A lot of times they don’t really have all of the facts, but they feel like their opinion is so important that everybody’s simply is going to cower to that opinion. That the way I see this story, if you’d take a look at the news articles on this, there is a huge split between the people who know what actually happened here and kind of the celebrity cool crowd who kinda parachutes in, gives their opinion, get a little publicity. It’s really more about their publicity than it is the victim most of the time. But what is your take? It’s a very strong split here in Nashville, isn’t it?

Mollye Barrows:                It is. And I think it goes to people who supported the bigger cause, not necessarily her case in particular, but they supported the bigger cause of teenagers shouldn’t be used and exploited in sex. And I think you see that at, for example, you have this new legislator that just came on in Tennessee, London Lamar. One of her first acts as a new representative in Tennessee legislature was to introduce a bill that’s based on Cyntoia Brown’s case.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, that’s a good idea. I mean, I again, I handle sex trafficking cases, but more legislation we have that helps us go after the bad guys helps us go after the pimps. Helps us go after the corporations, major corporations involved in sex trafficking, hotels, casinos, truck industry.

Mollye Barrows:                All the enablers.

Mike Papantonio:             All the enablers

Mollye Barrows:                In this case though, they’re basically saying in this law that would automatically protect the victim of the sex crime. So you’re being trafficked, it’s saying that because you’re already being used in prostitution, it almost excuses you, and that’s not exactly the right word, but the way the word of the law is, it’s presumed to be acting in self-defense. If the person uses force intended to cause serious injury or death if they’re being used in prostitution.

Mike Papantonio:             Let’s take it down to the basics. The guy to kill here was the pimp. Mollye, thank you for joining me.

Mollye Barrows:                Thanks Pap.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.