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Debunked: Histrionic ‘Kidnapping’ Claim Against DeSantis, Abbott

Debunked: Histrionic ‘Kidnapping’ Claim Against DeSantis, Abbott

“Imagine Ron DeSantis goes up to a group of white teenagers, offers them some candy and says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take you to Dinsey [sic] World if you get in my van.’ And then Ron DeSantis drives them to Bush Gardens. That’s kidnapping!” – MSNBC commentator Elie Mystal

I’m not a lawyer nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m smart enough to know that the state of so-called “legal analysis” in the media, in particular on cable “news” networks like CNN and MSNBC and on the pages of the New York Times, is not good. Like – at all.

As evidence, look no further than the “interview” MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross did with contributor Elie Mystal Saturday on the issue of the illegal immigrants Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had flown to Martha’s Vineyard and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused to VP Kamala Harris’ D.C. doorstep on Thursday.

Mystal, who purports to be an attorney and who is also the “justice correspondent” for The Nation, was asked to talk more about an article he wrote in which he argued that DeSantis and Abbott should be investigated by the Dept. of Justice on “kidnapping” charges.

Mystal told Cross that the case was simple. He referred to two unsubstantiated claims being made: that the migrants were misled about where they were supposed to go and that DHS “made up” addresses for the migrants so they’d be “too far away from those addresses to go to future hearings.” From two claims he admitted had not been proven, Mystal proclaimed that Abbott and DeSantis were guilty of kidnapping.

The “legal” argument Mystal used to prove his point? A quote from actor Matthew McConaughey’s character Jake Tyler Brigance from the 1996 movie “A Time to Kill,” where McConaughey played an attorney in the deep south. I kid you not:

“Kidnapping by trick is a thing. Telling people that you are going to take them one place and sending them someplace else is a form of kidnapping. And I can prove that to you if I do the Matthew McConaughey thing, ‘Now imagine they were white.’

From Fox News:

Imagine Ron DeSantis goes up to a group of white teenagers, offers them some candy, and says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take you to Dinsey [sic] World if you get in my van.’ And then Ron DeSantis drives them to Busch Gardens. That’s kidnapping. You’re not allowed to do that.”

Click below to watch the clip:

Lest anyone think the “kidnapping” argument is one only being made by Very Online woke liberals like Mystal, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is also demanding the DOJ investigate DeSantis and Abbott on those grounds. And according to an Axios report, cabinet members in the Biden administration are said to be scrambling to figure out what “litigation options” they have against the two governors. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to them as a “smugglers” on Friday, and Biden himself called what Abbott and DeSantis did “un-American.”

As you might have guessed already, there are some serious problems with the “kidnapping” argument, especially when you consider that contra media claims about the migrants being told they were going to someplace other than Martha’s Vineyard, the Daily Caller obtained documents the migrants were given that indicated exactly where they were going:

The packets included a map with Martha’s Vineyard marked with a red star with the label “YOU ARE HERE,” written in both English and Spanish. The packets also had documents with local resources, including the contact information for community services and churches in the area, potential employment opportunities and public assistance programs.

During a Friday presser, Massachusetts immigration attorney Rachel Self, who made the allegations about falsified addresses and the migrants supposedly not knowing they would be sent to Martha’s Vineyard, nevertheless held up a map to the media that looked like the one the Daily Caller described:

The other problem is that, well, from a legal standpoint what happened is not “kidnapping” nor “human trafficking,” as George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley explained in a lengthy piece that is sure to cause hurt feelings on the left:

The claim by Newsom and others that this could constitute kidnapping is absurd. Kidnapping requires that the culprit “unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person.” There is nothing unlawful in conveying individuals who are lawfully in the country pending their immigration hearings; the trips are voluntary, and most migrants appear eager to accept free passage to cities like New York or Chicago.

Human trafficking — a charge suggested by some law professors — is prosecuted by the Justice Department when you exploit “a person for labor, services, or commercial sex.” Gov. DeSantis may have overt political motives for transporting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, but even cable-news programs have not suggested he is doing so for sexual or labor exploitation.

Further, as Turley noted both in his piece and below, if what DeSantis and Abbott did is a criminal act, then the Biden administration should be on trial, too, because they’ve been doing this very thing for well over a year now:

In a Twitter thread, independent journalist Glenn Greenwald expanded on a point Turley only briefly touched on in his piece regarding how Democrats now chillingly make it standard operating procedure to call for investigations and legal actions at the highest levels of government against their political opposition for the “crime” of saying and doing things Democrats don’t like:

Beyond the legal arguments being made one way or the other here, the real issue at hand for all the Democrats who are hyperventilating is that they’re mad as hell that they were utterly humiliated after both their virtue signaling about sanctuary cities and their lectures to border states to just “deal with” the massive influx of migrants were put to the test—and found to be sorely lacking. Because affluent white Democrats in a posh liberal enclave were thoroughly embarrassed, the Republicans who exposed them must pay the price:


— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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A civilly war by any other means.

Also, it’s rich hearing these idiots calling illegal aliens being bused to Leftist enclaves kidnapping when we know many of the people coming up here from the south were kidnapped and trafficked this way by smugglers, all with the encouragement of these same Leftists.

I don’t remember you complaining when Dictator Dementia bussed and flew them to red states.

There does seem to be a strong strain of ‘use federal LEO against our political opposition’ being offered up by d/prog these days. Any bets on how long that holds once they lose power and are potentially on the receiving end?

    OwenKellogg-Engineer in reply to CommoChief. | September 18, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    I think that’s why they want control of the ballot machines/elections, so they don’t ever have to give up power again

      Sure. I totally agree with you. There are a couple of problems with that. First, many States have strengthened ballot integrity. Second the d/prog control is in blue States and a few purple States not red States. Third what if they drop the illusion, the population figures out the scam, rejects their choices and refuses to willingly play along?

      That is always a risk. Sometimes that risk is infinitesimal and sometimes larger. Lots of historical examples of it occurring. Some contemporary.

        henrybowman in reply to CommoChief. | September 18, 2022 at 5:17 pm

        “Second the d/prog control is in blue States and a few purple States not red States.”
        Forget the federal government, did we?

          CommoChief in reply to henrybowman. | September 18, 2022 at 6:15 pm

          No, we are on the topic of elections which are administered by the States. Let’s say Biden looses his mind and wants to use force. We have 435 CD. Add up the entire AD Army and USMC and then subtract those overseas. Then divide by 435. How many AD ground troops does that work out to per CD? Not many.

          Then factor in how many are support troops v combat forces. Then factor in that some number wouldn’t do it. Even less per CD. Bottom line is that less than a thousand troops can’t lockdown the population of a CD unless the population allows it. The numbers simply aren’t there to make it work.

          Note that I am not urging this course or inviting it but simply pointing out some obvious facts. Our military is too small to effectively make a despotic regime secure.

          Adding 87,000 agents to the ‘enforcement branch’ of the IRS wasn’t done to crack down on your football pool winnings.

          It was to increase the size of the executive’s private army.

          CommoChief in reply to henrybowman. | September 19, 2022 at 10:57 am


          I would point out that not all of those are going to be armed agents despite the rhetoric. Let’s say they are. 87K /435 CD = 200 each. Now in a circumstance of passive acceptance the population can be subdued. What if the population isn’t passive? Not so much.

          Again I am not advocating for this course but just pointing out some facts. The IRS dudes decide to pay a visit to Joe the Plumber and harass him. So far so good. Where do these IRS dudes stage? What route do they travel? Where is their local HQ?

          Are all of those, HQ, route and assembly area secured? By whom? For that matter where do these IRS dudes sleep and is that secured? Where does their food come from? Water and electricity?

          Bottom line is the AD military and Federal LEO combined are simply too small for the task of securing a continental size nation in the face of even half ass resistance. Anyone telling you otherwise is either a fool or a liar.

          Again not advocating for that turn of events. In fact I vigorously oppose them because the consequences would be horrible. My squeamish attitude doesn’t alter the fact that there isn’t a way for a continental size Nation to be controlled without a force many multiples larger than that available UNLESS the population passively allows it. If the population withdraws its consent to be governed they are ungovernable.

It’s kidnapping except when Biden’s people flies them all over the country. Hypocrites all, especially Elie Mystal aka Q-tip Head.

JackinSilverSpring | September 18, 2022 at 11:03 am

The FBI and DOJ delende est.

What the F is that thing? A tranny, a drag queen, an escaped imbecile? God, more bourbon please, and skip the branch water.

    henrybowman in reply to E Howard Hunt. | September 18, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    The left thinks a federal official in a fright wig or a dog costume is a good look. So why wouldn’t they swoon over a “legal professional” who makes appearances on national TV costumed as a megacephalic Q-tip?

You can always believe the gender-dubious person wearing a fright wig.

The people making these arguments don’t care that they are absurd. They aren’t trying to win a college debate. They’re just trying to gin up outrage. It’s what they feed on and what they care about.

Logic – nah!

    Gosport in reply to irv. | September 19, 2022 at 12:40 am

    Not to mention it all sells to the average ignorant click-bait Dem voter. The ones who would never consider sanity checking what they are being fed by the leftist propaganda arm.

Well, at least we have ‘honesty in advertising’ with this guy.

He not only thinks and talks like a clown, but he dresses like one too.

These Lefties are just mad that Abbot and DeSantis are showing them up to be hypocrites in spectacular fashion.

saying abbot/desantis are “kidnapping” these folks is about as honest as saying this fool is a “justice correspondent”

lord–he/she/it is a colossal moron

The leftist Bozos would wail and flail for a Federal Investigation and arress for Babe Ruth hitting a game winning home run.

I’m pretty sure if anyone on this forum and this guy were offered Number 2 pencils and standardized tests he would be exposed for the Low IQ but Big-Mouthed Moron that he is.

I wonder where these immigrants are coming from? We know 1. They’re not just walking across. Of course not, because, 2. The border is secure. And I read yesterday that 700 have drowned so far this year. So they’re not swimming either. Further, Del Rio, population 35000 plus had an influx of 49000 plus in July alone. So what is so attractive about Del Rio that Martha’s Vineyard is only able to attract 50? Tourism is at an all time high in red, conservative, border states. Blue states need to do better. Maybe make their cities sanctuary cities.

I guess it hasn’t occurred to Newsom & The Whiny Corps that there statements all show a profound contempt for the refugees – that they’re really just a bunch of ignorami who’ve been duped by crafty white guys. Newsome & His Ilk just cannot believe nor accept that brown folks really do not need a self-righteous bunch of White Liberals nanny-jacking them “for their own good.”

If we get a GOP administration in 2o25, I hope it hunts down the organizers of the caravans and charges the with however many counts of human trafficking.