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Archive for November 12th, 2012

Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Says Prosecutors in Petraeus Case Exercised “Sound Discretion”

Steve Levin, a criminal defense attorney, spent ten years as a federal prosecutor in North Carolina and Maryland. He served on active duty in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney, and a trial attorney, and is now a military judge in the Army Reserve. His firm, Levin & Curlett, has offices  in Baltimore and Washington.  This column  first appeared on his blog Fraud with Peril.

Steve Levin

 
By Steve Levin
For ticklethewire.com

In 2004, the then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland famously wrote in a leaked email that he wanted three front-page indictments by November of that year. Though open to interpretation, the impression left by the poorly-drafted missive is that prosecutors should seek headlines rather than justice.

Let’s give credit to the prosecutors involved in the Petraeus/ Broadwell affair, er, matter for their exercise of sound discretion.

Assuming the accuracy of the news reports, Paula Broadwell potentially subjected herself to indictment for any number of federal crimes. In his paper entitled Computer and Internet Crime, G. Patrick Black, a federal defender in Texas, analyzes a number of cyberstalking statutes. As Black writes:

Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Section 875(c) applies to any communication actually transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce – thus it includes threats transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce via the telephone, e-mail, beepers, or the Internet. Title 18 U.S.C. 875 is not an all-purpose anti-cyberstalking statute.

First, it applies only to communications of actual threats. Thus, it would not apply in a situation where a cyberstalker engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to harass or annoy another (absent some threat). Also, it is not clear that it would apply to situations where a person harasses or terrorizes another by posting messages on a bulletin board or in a chat room encouraging others to harass or annoy another person.

Read more »

Column: Ex-FBI Official Skeptical of Media and Whether Patraeus Probe Will Remain Bi-Partisan

Anthony Riggio is a former lawyer who went on to work for the FBI for 24 years. He held a number of posts during that time including assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office. He retired in 1995 as a senior executive at FBI headquarters. His column is in response to a ticklethewire.com newsletter that said: “It will be interesting to see how much legs this Gen. Patraeus scandal has. Hopefully, it will remain a bi-partisan concern. If not, it will just turn into another ugly partisan-bashing fest inside the Beltway, something the country doesn’t need.“ 

Tony Riggio

By Anthony Riggio
For ticklethewire.com
I am afraid that if the media doesn’t keep it alive it may never develop “legs”.
 
Based on past performance, vis a vie this president, I have little faith in our media. This, in my humble opinion is perhaps bigger than Watergate because of all the players involved. But unlike Nixon, Obama is not a Republican.

So I ask:  Do all the people have a “right to know” or do only the “liberal half”?

As far as bi-partisanship goes, I, for one, am not holding my breath.

If the media, in this situation, does not do its job, the Congress will!  Still, I fear that a biased media will regard any legitimate inquiries as  ”partisan bashing.”

 

 

When Will We See Them Again? Release Dates on Some Public Figures

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 It’s interesting how soon we forget about public figures when they run afoul of the law. Sometimes years go by before we finally say, “Gee, whatever happened to Congressman so-and-so” and “I wonder when he’s getting out of prison.”

Well, ticklethewire.com was wondering the same. So we checked with the Bureau of Prisons to see when we might see some of the folks in public again. Here’s an update on their release dates.

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik:  Kerik,  57, seemed to have it all.  The former New York City Police Commissioner was a post-9/11 hero. He had his boy Rudy Giuliani promoting him. And then the roof fell in. He was caught lying when being considered for head of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. And he was busted for receiving about $255,000 in renovations to his apartment from a company seeking contracts with the city. He was sentenced to four years in prison for eight felony counts. He’s serving out his sentence now in New York. Release date: 10-15-2013.

 Randall “Duke” Cunningham: Cunningham, 70, of California, was an influential Congressman who served from 1991 to 2005. His days as a player inside the Beltway ended when he resigned in November 2005 after copping a plea for taking at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. He was sentenced to 8 years and four months. He’s currently serving out his sentence in Tucson. Release date: 6-4-2013.

William Jefferson

William Jefferson: Jefferson, 65, the New Orleans Congressman, served nine terms before he was finally defeated. He could have been Congressman for life had it not been for an FBI sting. He was hardly known outside his district, that is until he stuffed $90,000 in marked FBI bills in freezer at his home on Capitol Hill. The judge in Alexandria, Va. hit him hard with a 13 year sentence. He is currently serving his time in Beaumont, Tex. Release date: 8-30-2023

 

Blagojevich/file photo

Rod Blagojevich: You can only  hope that Blago, 55, has learned to control his chatter-box persona in prison. Some people may not be so tolerant of that in such closed-in quarters. Blago was convicted in his first trial on only 1 of 24 counts, and that was for lying to an FBI agent. But the feds wised up and simplified the case in the second trial and got convictions on 17 of 20 counts. The judge didn’t hold back. He sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison. He’s currently serving in Littleton, Colo. Release date: 5-23-2024

Bernie Madoff: Madoff, 74, will go down in history as one of the biggest swindlers of his time. He’s currently serving his sentence at the Butner prison facility in North Carolina. He got whacked with a ridiculous, but appropriate sentence of 150 years.Release date: NEVER.

Ex. Gov George Ryan

George Ryan Sr: Ryan, 78, served as Illinois 39th governor from 1999 to 2003. He was convicted in 2006 of racketeering, fraud and other offenses involving favoritism and kickbacks for state contracts and property leases. He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison. He is currently serving out his sentence in Terre Haute, Ind. Release date: 7-4-2013.

 

Monica Conyers/facebook

 Monica Conyers: Conyers, 48, the wife of Rep. John Conyers Jr., was a city council member in Detroit. She was considered rather abrasive and combative and was particularly good at creating divisiveness in a city that could hardly afford that. She was convicted of bribery and sentenced to more than three years in prison.  She’s currently serving her time in Alderson, W. Va.Release Date: 5-16-2013.

 

 

When Will We See These Public Figures Again? Here’s the Release Dates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

 It’s interesting how soon we forget about public figures when they run afoul of the law. Sometimes years go by before we finally say, “Gee, whatever happened to Congressman so-and-so” and “I wonder when he’s getting out of prison.”

Well, ticklethewire.com was wondering the same. So we checked with the Bureau of Prisons to see when we might see some of the folks in public again. Here’s an update on their release dates.

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik:  Kerik,  57, seemed to have it all.  The former New York City Police Commissioner was a post-9/11 hero. He had his boy Rudy Giuliani promoting him. And then the roof fell in. He was caught lying when being considered for head of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. And he was busted for receiving about $255,000 in renovations to his apartment from a company seeking contracts with the city. He was sentenced to four years in prison for eight felony counts. He’s serving out his sentence now in New York. Release date: 10-15-2013.

 Randall “Duke” Cunningham: Cunningham, 70, of California, was an influential Congressman who served from 1991 to 2005. His days as a player inside the Beltway ended when he resigned in November 2005 after copping a plea for taking at least $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. He was sentenced to 8 years and four months. He’s currently serving out his sentence in Tucson. Release date: 6-4-2013.

William Jefferson

William Jefferson: Jefferson, 65, the New Orleans Congressman, served nine terms before he was finally defeated. He could have been Congressman for life had it not been for an FBI sting. He was hardly known outside his district, that is until he stuffed $90,000 in marked FBI bills in freezer at his home on Capitol Hill. The judge in Alexandria, Va. hit him hard with a 13 year sentence. He is currently serving his time in Beaumont, Tex. Release date: 8-30-2023

Blagojevich/file photo

Rod Blagojevich: You can only  hope that Blago, 55, has learned to control his chatter-box persona in prison. Some people may not be so tolerant of that in such closed-in quarters. Blago was convicted in his first trial on only 1 of 24 counts, and that was for lying to an FBI agent. But the feds wised up and simplified the case in the second trial and got convictions on 17 of 20 counts. The judge didn’t hold back. He sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison. He’s currently serving in Littleton, Colo. Release date: 5-23-2024

Bernie Madoff: Madoff, 74, will go down in history as one of the biggest swindlers of his time. He’s currently serving his sentence at the Butner prison facility in North Carolina. He got whacked with a ridiculous, but appropriate sentence of 150 years. Release date: NEVER.

Ex. Gov George Ryan

George Ryan Sr: Ryan, 78, served as Illinois 39th governor from 1999 to 2003. He was convicted in 2006 of racketeering, fraud and other offenses involving favoritism and kickbacks for state contracts and property leases. He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison. He is currently serving out his sentence in Terre Haute, Ind. Release date: 7-4-2013.

 

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers: Conyers, 48, the wife of Rep. John Conyers Jr., was a city council member in Detroit. She was considered rather abrasive and combative and was particularly good at creating divisiveness in a city that could hardly afford that. She was convicted of bribery and sentenced to more than three years in prison.  She’s currently serving her time in Alderson, W. Va. Release Date: 5-16-2013.

 

Federal Investigators Join Probe into Massive, Deadly Explosion in Indianapolis

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal, state and local investigators are trying to determine what caused a massive explosion that killed two people, injured seven, damaged or destroyed 31 homes and forced 200 people from their homes late Saturday night, the Indianapolis Star reports.

While the cause is unknown, much of the attention is on natural gas lines that have since been shut down.

Citizens Energy said it wasn’t clear Sunday whether a gas leak could have caused the explosion, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Indiana has a painful past with gas explosions. The deadliest disaster in Indianapolis history was a gas explosion that killed 74 people and injured 400 others after it tore through the State Fairgrounds Coliseum on Halloween 1963, according to the Star.

It’s unclear which federal agencies are involved.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Former Head of San Antonio FBI Office to Take Over Chicago Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The former head of the FBI office in San Antonio has been named special agent in charge of the Chicago office, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The FBI is expected to announce the appointment of Cory B. Nelson this week.

Nelson will replace retiring Robert Grant, who headed the Chicago office for 7 years.

A 21-year veteran of the FBI, Nelson was in charge of the San Antonio office for two years before taking a post at FBI headquarters in Washington earlier this year, the Tribune wrote.

Nelson’s career began in New York, where he investigated organized crime. He also helped probe the Oklahoma City bombing, the Tribune reported.

Nelson earned a master’s degree in business administration from Baruch College in New York; he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Albany.

New Outpost for Customs and Border Patrol Agents in New Mexico Is Stalled More Than a Year

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal officials botched the planning of a $15 million outpost in New Mexico for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Border Patrol agents, leading to more than a year of delays, the Associated Press reports.

Customs and Border Patrol agents will continue to work out of trailers in Antelope Wells, where the outpost was expected to be completed around this time last year, according to the AP.

To blame is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which didn’t outfit the post with nearly enough power, the AP wrote.

The project languished for months even after the Corps realized more power was needed because the agency couldn’t decide how to fill out the proper paperwork get more electricity, the AP reported.

Senate Committee Investigates FBI’s Handling of Ex-CIA Director Petraeus Extramarital Affair

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is under fire for not immediately disclosing the extramarital affair of ex-CIA Director David H. Petraeus to the White House and Congress, Bloomberg News reports.

Saying the affair “could have had an effect on national security,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the investigation should have been revealed more quickly.

The investigation began in the summer when the FBI last week notified U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who alerted the White House, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

According to the Boston Globe this morning, the FBI downplayed the impact on national security and said it was wary of revealing an investigation that hadn’t appeared to involve criminal wrongdoing by Petraeus.

The investigation was triggered by threatening e-mails to a woman, a friend of Petraeus and his wife.

The e-mails were sent by Paula Broadwell, 40, the author of Petraeus biography, Bloomberg News wrote.