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Archive for November 1st, 2012

Defense Attorney Still Questions Whether FBI Agent’s Text Messages Were Destroyed: Govt. Says It Did Nothing Wrong

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
The legal battle between the defense and prosecution is heating up in an undercover FBI sting into gun trafficking in the Philippines.

The battle began when deputy Federal Defender John Littrell in Los Angeles accused a a California undercover FBI agent of using taxpayer dollars to pay for prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and targets of the sting. The agent, in court papers, adamantly denied the allegation.

Then Littrell filed a motion last month alleging that the government only saved incoming text messages the FBI agent received from the targets, but didn’t save the ones that the agent sent out to the targets. Littrelle suggested the government may have intentionally destroyed the texts, which might be of  help in proving entrapment.

The government in a document filed on Oct. 24, said  that the undercover phone, which was a pre-paid phone purchased in the Philippines, was not capable of saving outgoing messages the agent sent to the defendants.

The government also noted that another phone used by the agent was lost in a cab in the Philippines and was not recovered.

“The government acted in good faith at all times, and there is no reason to believe that the agents’ outgoing texts were exculpatory in any way, particularly in light of the very incriminating nature of the defendants’ email, text, and other communications to the agent,” the government wrote.

But on Thursday, defense attorney Littrell, who represents one of three defendants, Sergio Syjuco, wrote in a motion:

In its opposition, the government admits that the undercover agent failed to preserve any of the outgoing text messages he sent during the 18-month investigation in this case. The government’s excuse for the undercover agent’s failure to preserve his outgoing messages from September 2010 to May 2011 (the “first phone”) was that  he lost the phone in a taxi in Manila. Its excuse for the undercover agent’s failure to preserve his outgoing text messages from May 2011 to January 5, 2012 (the “second phone”), was that the “undercover phone did not save outgoing text messages, and they are “not available on the undercover telephone.” The government does not explain why messages are unavailable on the second phone, and it does not attach a declaration from the agent. It does not rule out the possibility that the undercover agent deliberately lost the first phone, or deleted the messages or altered the settings on the second phone to prevent it from saving outgoing texts. The government says only that “there were no messages in the “sent” box.” This explanation is not complete, and it is not convincing.

The fight continues. Stay tuned.

Family of Muslim Leader Shot Dead Challenges FBI’s Version of Raid

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

Steve Neavking
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — A Detroit Muslim leader was unarmed when authorities fatally shot him during a raid inside a suburban warehouse in 2009, the family of the man said in a lawsuit, a claim that’s totally contrary to what the FBI concluded,  the Detroit Free Press reports.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit alleges an unarmed Imam Luqman Abdullah was shot 30 times as he tried to protect himself from a police dog, according to the Free Press.

The claims stem from the affidavit of Muhammad Abdul Salaam, a Detroit man who witnessed the raid and shooting.

“As Abdullah struggled to prevent the canine from attacking his face, and while Abdullah was on his back, the FBI agents began shooting at him,” Salaam said in his affidavit, the Free Press wrote. “Abdullah never pulled any weapon towards the canine or towards any of the FBI agents. At no time during that day did I see Abdullah carry a gun.”

In separate investigations, local, state and federal authorities concluded the federal agents broke no laws when they opened fire on Abdullah. They concluded that he opened fire on the dog as agents approached.

Halloweeen Posed Challenge to Border Authorities As Costumed Trick-Or-Treaters Cross Into U.S.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ghosts, zombies, witches and princesses.

The increasing number of wannabe trick-or-treaters who crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. on Halloween posed tricky challenges to custom inspectors, Fox News reports.

Customs and Border Protection has had the painstaking responsiblity of verifying the identify of costumed travelers making their way to El Paso for trick-or-treating. Although Mexican celebrate Halloween, trick-or-treating has not caught on, Fox News wrote.

 

Grand Jury to Investigate Helicopter Shooting of Two Immigrants in Pick Up Truck

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A grand jury will probe the deaths of two Guatemalan immigrants in Texas shot from a police helicopter in October, Fox News reports.

The grand jury is to determine whether charges should be filed after a Texas Department of Public Service helicopter killed two immigrants hiding in the bed of a truck.

A Guatemalan diplomat alleges Texas agents were close enough to the truck to know people, not drugs, were in the truck, Fox News reported.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra called for the grand jury.

Feds Scoff at ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Claims He Had Immunity to Kill

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors slammed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s claims the government gave him immunity to kill, the Boston Herald reports.

“Put simply, someone who thought he had immunity would not pay a corrupt FBI agent thousands of dollars in cash, as Stephen Flemmi has admitted that he and Bulger paid to John Connolly,” the feds state in court papers filed Wednesday.

Feds said it’s laughable that any law enforcement officials would allow someone to go on a murder spree with no consequences, the Boston Herald wrote.

Bulger’s attorney also says he need more time to examine heaps of evidence, including 366,000 pages of documents, wiretaps, phone calls and videos.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

American Muslims Continue to Use Terrorist Recruiting Pipeline to Somalia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Young Muslim Americans continue to be lured by terrorists to East Africa to join the ranks of jihadists, ABC News reports. As recently as July, two Americans are believed to have left Minneapolis for Somalia to join al-Shabaab, a terrorist group, ABC News reported.

The FBI has been investigating for years the terrorist recruiting pipeline from Minneapolis, where a large population of Somalis live, to Somalia, according toFox News.

Approximately 40 Americans joined Somali terrorists, according to a 2011 Congressional report.