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Archive for November, 2008

Slain FBI Agent Put to Rest in Baltimore: FBI Dir. Speaks at Funeral

FBI agent Sam Hicks was put to rest Thursday, a reminder to the law enforcement community of the dangers of the job.

The Associated Press
BALTIMORE — FBI agents and police officers joined family members today for the funeral of an FBI agent killed in a drug raid in suburban Pittsburgh.
The funeral for Special Agent Sam Hicks was held at the Cathedral of Mary our Queen in Baltimore, the city where he once served as a police officer.
The only speakers were FBI director Robert Mueller and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Mr. Mueller said he didn’t know Agent Hicks but was able to catch a glimpse of his character by talking to his family and colleagues. He called Hicks “something of a superhero,” saying he was “full of strength and energy.” Mr. Mueller presented Agent Hicks’ widow with a memorial star and told her that she and her son, Noah, would always be part of the FBI family.
For Full Story

Read Mueller’s Prepared Remarks

Holy Land Foundation Organizers Found Guilty of Illegally Funding Hamas

It took a couple tries, but federal prosecutors this time emerged victorious.

By Jason Trahan and Tanya Eiserer
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — After more than 15 years of investigation and two trials, the Holy Land Foundation and five of its former organizers were found guilty of illegally funneling more than $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
The verdicts by a Dallas federal jury are a significant victory for the Justice Department, which streamlined its case after a mistrial last year and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex evidence presented in the massive case.
Guilty verdicts were read on 108 separate charges.
The verdicts are a major triumph for the outgoing administration of President George W. Bush, whose efforts at fighting terrorism financing have been troubled. Two other similar high-profile prosecutions targeting supporters of Palestinian militants have ended in acquittals, deadlocked juries or convictions on lesser charges.

“Today’s verdicts are important milestones in America’s efforts against financiers of terrorism,” Patrick Rowan, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a prepared statement.

For Full Story

Ex-Philly Anchor Gets House Arrest For Getting Into Co-worker’s Emails

We expect more of our tv anchors…or do we?

By Joseph A. Slobodzian
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
PHILADELPHIA — Disgraced former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte
Anchor Larry Mendte/

Anchor Larry Mendte/cbs3

will serve six months of house arrest for his guilty plea to reading the e-mails of former co-anchor Alycia Lane and feeding the details to newspaper gossip columnists.
U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin also sentenced Mendte, 51, to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and to perform 250 hours of community service.
Before he was sentenced, Mendte told the court: “When I look back on the story of my life, I can’t believe it brought me to this moment. I am ashamed.”
For Full Story

Study Says New Orleans Tops the Nation’s Cities in Crime

This city has been handed bragging rights over something it would rather not brag about: being number one in crime. It is better to be known for gumbo or fried shrimp po’boys.

By Brendan McCarthy
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — A national study released today has named New Orleans the most violent city in the country.
The annual crime ranking, compiled by researchers and published by CQ Press, examined statistics for six major types of crime in nearly 400 cities.
With more than 19,000 incidents of crime last year, New Orleans ranked number one, ahead of Camden, New Jersey, and Detroit, Mich.
The rankings are calculated using crime statistics and population data. The editors of the ranking included a special note about New Orleans, highlighting the city’s dramatic changes in population over the last few years.
For Full Story

Pres. Bush Pardons 14 People and Commutes Sentences of 2

white house photo

white house photo

President Bush, who’s looking for forgiveness for the way the economy has turned out, decided to show some forgiveness. No big names so far. But more pardons are expected. Stay tuned.

By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush has granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds including drug offenses, tax evasion, wildlife violations and bank embezzlement.
The new round of White House pardons announced Monday are Bush’s first since March and come less than two months before he will end his presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of government property.
Bush has been stingy during his time in office about granting clemency, but more grants are expected.
For Full Story

Read Related Story in The Detroit News

Judge Dismisses 3 Perjury Charges Against Slugger Barry Bonds and Orders Govt. to Correct Legal Errors in Indictment

Slugger Barry Bonds may not have hit a home run in court today, but he hit at least a single or two.

By Lance Williams
Chronicle Staff Writer
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge dismissed three perjury charges against Barry Bonds today and ordered prosecutors to file a new indictment to correct legal errors, but rejected a defense request to drop several other counts against the former Giants slugger.
The decision increases the likelihood that Bonds, 44, will go to trial as scheduled March 2.
In an order filed this morning in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Judge Susan Illston let stand most of the charges facing Bonds, who is accused of lying to a grand jury in 2003 about whether he had knowingly used steroids.
Bonds’ lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss 10 of the 15 counts of perjury and obstruction of justice contained in an indictment handed up in May. They had argued that Bonds was asked “fundamentally ambiguous” questions when he testified before the grand jury that investigated steroid dealing at BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, in Burlingame. They also said the indictment was fraught with legal problems.
For Full Story

Read Judge’s Order

Fla. Senator Wants Answers About Missing Ex-FBI Agent in Iran

By Lesley Clark
The Miami Herald
WASHINGTON — Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is calling on Congress to press Iran to divulge more information about Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who went missing in 2007 from a Persian Gulf island.
The congressional resolution calls for Iranian investigators to meet with the FBI to discuss Levinson’s case, as well as calling on the U.S. government and its allies ”to press Iran on this case, at every opportunity and at every level,” Nelson said.
”No one should ever have to experience what they have been through,” Nelson said of Levinson’s wife, Christine, and his seven children.
“It is no doubt the wish of everyone who knows the family that Mr. Levinson be reunited with his loved ones and it has been very difficult to get information out of the government of Iran.”
For Full Story

State Department Press Conference On the Case

N.J. U.S. Atty. Christopher Christie Latest to Step Down

U.S. Atty. Christie/ official photo

U.S. Atty. Christie/ official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Christopher J. Christie, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney, is the latest to hit the exit as the Bush administration winds down. His last day is Dec. 1.
Christie, 46, submitted his resignation letter to Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey, saying he had accomplished many things during his seven-year reign including a crack down on public corruption.
“A new level of attention was brough to the scourage of political corruption in this state and we are proud of the results,” he wrote.
“There have been more than 130 convictions of elected and appointed political officials in the past sven years withou an acquital. We have secured convictions of officials at every level of government, form the school board to the statehouse, and of both political parties.

Christie has not indicated what he plans to do next, though some reportedly encourage him to run for governor.

Read Christie’s letter to A.G. Michael Mukasey

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Appeal in Bribery Case of Ex-Alabama Gov. Could Show Case Was Politically Tainted (NY Times)

DHS Alum Chris Battle Says Gov. Janet Napolitano is Good Choice to Head Homeland Security (Security DeBrief)

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