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Archive for December 1st, 2009

No Shock: Mistrial Declared in 4th Trial of Mobster John Gotti Jr.

John "Junior" Gotti/youtube photo

John "Junior" Gotti/youtube photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It was hardly shocking.

Just like three times before, a federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday declared a mistrial in John “Junior” Gotti’s  fourth racketeering trial.

The judge declared the mistrial after the jury remained deadlocked following 11 days of deliberations.

Turns out Gotti junior, the second generation mob boss, is even luckier than his pop, who was nicknamed “Teflon Don” because he was acquitted in three trials. But the father, unlike the son, was convicted in the fourth trial and went off to prison for life. He died behind bars in 2002 at age 61

Tueday’s declaration by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel left Gotti and his family elated, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office scratching its head, wondering whether to take one more shot at trying to convict Gotti.

During trial, prosecutors accused Gotti, 45, of being a big-time mobster who was involved in two murders and drug trafficking.

“The inability of the jury to reach a verdict does not diminish the work of the many agents, prosecutors, and staff who showed unyielding dedication and resolve in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.

“We are evaluating how to proceed and , in the near future, will inform the Court and the defense of our decision,” he said.

Read more »

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon Convicted of Taking Gift Cards

Sheila Dixon/state gov photo

Sheila Dixon/state gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Baltimore’s controversial Mayor Sheila Dixon was convicted Tuesday in state court of a misdemeanor for taking $630 in gift cards designated for the poor, the Baltimore Sun reported.

She was acquitted of the more serious felony counts of theft. Still, the conviction could force her from office, the Sun reported.

Dixon was accused of soliciting most of the cards from a wealthy developer and spending them at at Best Buy, Old Navy and Target.

To read more click here.

The Salahis Speak Out and Things Only Get More Confusing

Sahalis on the Today ShowBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The White House “CrashGate” scandal became all the more confusing after the Tareq and Michaele Salahi appeared on NBC’s  Today Show Tuesday morning and insisted they were invited to the party.

“We were invited, not crashers,” Michaele Salahi said. (see video below)

Appearing more the victims than the pranksters they’ve been portrayed as, the Salahis of suburban Washington said they were cooperating with Secret Service, and when it was appropriate, they would be able to prove they were invited and would be exonerated of any wrongdoing.

“We’re greatly saddened by all the circumstances … portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party-crash the White House,” Salahi said.

But the White House wasn’t buying their story and insisted there was no invite.

“This wasn’t a misunderstanding,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on the same show. “You don’t show up at the White House as a misunderstanding.”

The back and forth came after news reports only raised more questions about their attendance.

Read more »

Salahis Say They Didn’t Crash White House Party — “We Were Invited”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Hunt is Over: Police Shoot and Kill Suspect in Slayings of 4 Washington State Cops

Maurice Clemmons

Maurice Clemmons

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hunt for a convicted felon wanted in the slayings of four Washington state police officers ended early Tuesday morning when police shot and killed him in South Seattle, the Seattle Times reported.

The paper reported that police shot Maurice Clemmons while he was standing in the 4400 block of South Kenyon Street around 2:40 a.m. Seattle time.

Authorities say Clemmons was suspected of killing four Lakewood police officers in a coffee shop Sunday morning. The officers were working on their laptops at the time.

No police officers were injured, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Terror Trial Involving USS Cole Destroyer Triggers Debate Over Fairness of Military Tribunal

This case has triggered an intense debate over whether terror suspects should stand trial before a military tribunal or civilian court. Critics of the tribunal say it allows for prosecutors to bring weaker cases to trial.

uss-cole-crest-234x300

By Charlie Savage
New York Times

WASHINGTON — In April 2001, seven months after the Navy destroyer Cole was bombed in Yemen, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was staying at a Qaeda guesthouse in Afghanistan when he is alleged to have laid out how he had planned the whole thing.

One of those houseguests was later captured, and he told F.B.I. agents the story of those boasts and implied that he could be a star witness if Mr. Nashiri were tried for the murder of the 17 American sailors killed in the attack.

That trial is going to happen, but that witness is no longer available. Still, prosecutors may not need him. Mr. Nashiri will be tried by a military commission, and under the rules there, F.B.I. agents can simply repeat the accounts of witnesses — indirect testimony that would generally be inadmissible in a civilian court.

Mr. Nashiri’s case will be the marquee test of a new tribunal system designed to handle terrorism suspects.

For Full Story