The Pentagon apparently has more money than it knows what to do with as tens of billions of dollars are getting left unspent
The Pentagon failed to spend an eye-popping $27.7 billion of the funds it was allocated for fiscal year 2018 even though President Donald Trump intends to give the U.S. military even more taxpayer cash to play with next year.
According to a report from the Department of Defense Inspector General on the department's first-ever audit, the unspent $27.7 billion represents 4% of the $692 billion defense budget Trump signed into law in December 2017.
How did this happen? Defense officials literally didn't spend the money fast enough. "Money appropriated by Congress expires if it isn't spent within certain time frames and typically can no longer be used for new spending," as Bloomberg Government explains. "For example, money in procurement accounts is available for three years, research accounts for two years while money in personnel and operations and maintenance accounts expires after one year."
The Parkland school shooting is not a mystery to be solved. The defendant doesn’t deny committing the crime. And there’s no sense in putting off the inevitable, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Nikolas Cruz should go to trial by the end of the year, senior prosecutor Jeff Marcus said, asking Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer to consider setting a trial date as early as September.
“It’s a pretty straightforward case that does not require years and years to prepare for,” Marcus said.
But defense lawyers balked at the idea, arguing that no matter how open-and-shut the case may be, Cruz, 20, is still entitled to the same vigorous and thorough defense as every other defendant facing execution.
Law enforcement harassing Zachary Cruz, brother of Parkland school shooter, lawyers say
“We have to do everything we have to do and depose every witness so that we are effective in our representation of Mr. Cruz. There’s higher standards of due process,” said Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill.
Cruz has never denied being the gunman who walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Valentine’s Day and gunned down 14 students and three faculty members. He also shot and wounded 17 others. He’s facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. If convicted on the murder charges, he could face the death penalty.
The Public Defender’s Office has repeatedly offered to have Cruz plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence, sparing the victims and the public from the need to relive the terror of the shooting day after day at trial. But prosecutors have said justice can only be served if a jury is entrusted with the decision of whether Cruz lives or dies.
Scherer did not schedule a trial date.
Parkland shooter wants new jail guard after attack
Cruz, sporting a new buzzcut and wearing eyeglasses, was in court Tuesday for what was otherwise a routine hearing, with lawyers discussing the finer points of scheduling depositions for the dozens of witnesses likely to be called whenever Cruz goes to trial.
The judge said she will hear arguments later this month over whether the jail guard who was attacked by Cruz in November can continue overseeing him at the Broward main jail. Cruz is accused of punching Broward Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ray Beltran and removing the deputy’s stun gun during an altercation at the jail.
Typically in assault and battery cases, the defendant is ordered to have no contact with the victim. But just as prosecutors don’t want Cruz to be the one to determine his punishment, the Broward Sheriff’s Office doesn’t want Cruz to determine who oversees him at the jail.
“I will not allow any inmate in our custody the opportunity to try and manipulate who supervises them and when they do so,” Lt. Col. James Reyes wrote to McNeill on Nov. 16.
Scherer set a hearing for Jan. 16 to hear arguments on the issue.
In court on Tuesday was Cruz’s brother, Zachary, who now lives in Virginia. The brothers did not make eye contact.
Zachary Cruz, 18, has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Broward Sheriff’s Office of harassing him after the shooting.
He was arrested days after the shooting for trespassing on the grounds of Stoneman Douglas High School, then again in late April for driving near the school — the latter arrest was purportedly a violation of the terms of his probation, but the charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
On Monday, a federal judge ruled against a Broward Sheriff’s Office motion to dismiss the case, allowing it to proceed to trial at an undetermined date