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Archive for September, 2008

Sen. Steven’s Attys Accuse Govt. Of Wrongdoing

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Just when things were getting a little boring in the Stevens case,  the accusations began flying. Attorneys for Sen. Ted Stevens asked for a mistrial in his public corruption case, saying the government withheld key information before trial and sent a witness back to Alaska before he could testify because “they did not like what they heard”, according to a court document filed Sunday night. On Tuesday, the government filed a motion denying wrongdoing.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal judge scolded prosecutors yesterday for sending a potentially important witness in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens back to Alaska, a move that defense lawyers asserted was intended to hide exculpatory evidence.
“The government is treading in some very shallow water,” U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan told prosecutors from the Justice Department’s Office of Public Integrity. “I am just flabbergasted.”


For Full Story

Read Defense Motion For Mistrial

Read Government Court Filing on Tuesday Denying Wrongdoing

Gonzales Escapes Grand Jury Probe In U.S. Atty Firings

Former Atty. Gen. Gonzales/official photo

Former Atty. Gen. Gonzales/official photo

Former Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, who embarrassed the Justice Department during his reign, won’t be the subject of a grand jury probe  in the scandal involving the firing of U.S. Attorneys. But the administration is not out of the woods yet. Or as John Belushi said in Animal House: “It’s not over til we say it’s over.”

By Eric Lichtblau and Sharon Otterman
New York Times
WASHINGTON – An internal Justice Department investigation concluded Monday that political pressure drove the firings of several federal prosecutors in a 2006 purge, but said that the refusal of major players at the White House and the department to cooperate in the year-long inquiry produced significant “gaps” in its understanding of the events.
At the urging of the investigators, who said they did not have enough evidence to justify recommending criminal charges in the case, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey appointed the Acting United States Attorney in Connecticut, Nora Dannehy, to continue the inquiry and determine whether anyone should be prosecuted.

For Full Story

Read complete Justice Department report

Read blistering statement from Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey

FBI And French Agents Put Art Thief In Prison

A stolen Monet painting/fbi photo

One of the stolen paintings/fbi photo

MIAMI – The FBI and French National Police worked undercover to bust an art thief linked to the 2007 armed robbery at the Musee des Beaux-Arts museum in Nice, France. Now the thief is headed off to prison.
A federal judge in Miami last week sentenced art thief Bernad Jean Ternus, a French National, to 5 years and 2 months in prison, the Justice Department said. Ternus met with undercover FBI agents and French National Police to fence the paintings, which included  the famous “The Lane of Poplars at Moret” by Alfred Sisley (shown in photo).
Read art theft indictment

Trial Begins In Plot to Attack Ft. Dix

wcbstv.com

wcbstv.com

Trial begins today for five Muslims accused of planning an attack at Ft. Dix in New Jersey. Were they hell-bent on carrying out the mission or just trying to sound tougher than they were? Jurors will need to sort that out. The U.S. has had mixed results in terrorism trials since 2001.

By George Anastasia
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA — It was paintball and jihad, Dunkin’ Donuts and Osama bin Laden – terrorism come to suburbia.
And if the plot had been carried out, prosecutors say, the bodies of U.S. Army personnel would have been strewn across the fields of the Fort Dix military base.
Jury selection begins (Monday)for the trial of five foreign-born Muslims from the Philadelphia area charged with planning a jihad-inspired attack on the South Jersey military complex.
The government’s case is built primarily around secretly recorded conversations made by two cooperating witnesses who befriended the defendants. Those conversations, prosecutors say, detail “plans to attack Fort Dix and kill American soldiers” and include “discussions of the supposed justifications for such attacks rooted in radical jihadist ideology.”
But defense attorneys contend their clients talked a bigger game than they intended to play, portraying them as easily manipulated individuals led into a plot by paid FBI informants who created a conspiracy out of hollow words and empty threats.

For Full Story

Read Ft. Dix indictment

Government And Muslim Scientist Do Battle

The government wants a federal judge to throw out a case involving a Muslim scientist who worked at a nuclear warship plant. They say it will expose national secrets. The scientist claims he’s being punished for criticizing the U.S. and the FBI.

By JOE MANDAK
Associated Press Writer
PITTSBURGH — A federal judge does not have the jurisdiction to second-guess security clearance decisions and should throw out a lawsuit by a Muslim scientist who claims he wrongly lost his clearance – and his job – at a nuclear warship plant, U.S. Justice Department attorneys said in court documents.
Lawyers for the Department of Energy contend the lawsuit filed by Egyptian-born scientist Abdel Moniem Ali El-Ganayni is an effort to publicize the security review process, which could pose a threat to the U.S.
For Full Story

Read Government’s Motion

The Anthrax Suspect Was A Complicated Guy

Bruce E. Ivins

Bruce E. Ivins

Bruce E. Ivins, the suspected anthrax killer who committed suicide, was a complex person. Some friends saw him as a good person. Some evidence suggests he was a mad scientist — and a dangerous one at that.  Some are still not convinced he’s the killer. Soon to be a motion picture?

By Anne Hull, Marilyn W. Thompson and Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — Two days before he was found unconscious at home, felled by a lethal dose of Tylenol and valium, microbiologist Bruce E. Ivins logged on to one of the “express computers” on the second floor of the library in downtown Frederick.
He typed in the name of a Web site devoted to the anthrax-mailings investigation, a perplexing, unsolved case that had dragged on for seven years. At 7:13 p.m., the computer connected to a page that included comments from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, who was confident that the case soon would be solved. “I tell you, we’ve made great progress in the investigation,” he said.
For Full Story

Read the Latest FBI Anthrax Documents

County Commissioner’s Fla. Home Raided

Comm. Mary McCarty

Comm. Mary McCarty

Scandal continues to bubble in southern Florida. The latest: An FBI raid of a county commissioner’s home.

Maria Herrera and Mark Hollis
Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty’s home was searched Friday by the FBI, making her the latest county official to come under scrutiny by federal investigators.
Federal agents descended on the 1930s bungalow in the 1100 block of Vista Del Mar where McCarty lives with her husband, Kevin. A man working on McCarty’s garden said the agents took pictures of the house and the cars and left shortly after 9 a.m. with boxes of documents.
“I have done nothing wrong,” McCarty said from another home the couple owns in Maine. “In my mind, this was an unnecessary act.”
For Full Story

Ex-Alderman Aide Convicted In Chicago

An ex-alderman aide was convicted in Chicago, but got off on the bribery charges.

By Ofelia Casillas
Chicago Tribune.
CHICAGO — A federal jury on Friday convicted a one-time aide to former Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman of mail fraud and making false statements to the FBI but acquitted him on two counts of bribery.
Steven Boone faces up to 6 1/2 years in prison. No sentencing date was set by U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo.
Troutman pleaded guilty last month to mail and tax fraud, admitting that she shook down developers for campaign contributions to throw her support behind construction projects.
For Full Story