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Archive for December, 2008

Five Blackwater Guards Charged in Iraqi Civilian Deaths

The security company that became an ugly symbol of America’s unruly presence in Iraq faces ugly times ahead.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Five Blackwater Worldwide Security guards have been charged in a September 2007 shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and raised questions about the U.S. government’s use of security contractors in combat zones, according to two sources familiar with the case.
The guards, all former U.S. military personnel, worked as security contractors for the State Department, assigned to protect U.S. diplomats and other nonmilitary officials in Iraq.
Federal prosecutors obtained the indictment Thursday, and it was sealed. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District, declined to comment on the investigation. The exact nature of the charges could not be determined. The five security guards are expected to surrender to authorities on Monday, the sources said.
For Full Story

U.S. May Use Unusual Legal Tactic in Case (AP)

Az Rep. Rick Renzi’s Atty. Accuses Feds of Tickling The Wire

Law enforcement calls it “tickling the wire”, an old trick in which investigators leak something or arrest someone and hope people will respond by getting on a wiretapped phone and talking.

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. – A lawyer for Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona has accused the Justice Department of leaking an investigation over a land swap as a way to push Renzi into revealing details on his wiretapped cell phone.
Renzi attorney Reid Weingarten told a federal judge in Tucson that the leaks to media amount to misconduct. A prosecutor said the government investigated the leaks but couldn’t find a source.
The accusations came in a hearing on the retiring Republican’s request to have corruption charges dismissed.

For Full Story

A Man Once Framed by FBI For Murder is Charged With Illegal Gambling

A man who served more than 30 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit now faces illegal gambling charges. Any way you put it, here’s a man with an unlucky hand.

By DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press Writer
WOBURN, Mass.— A man once framed by the FBI for murder pleaded not guilty Friday to new charges that he ran an organized crime ring that took in hundreds of thousands of dollars from illegal gambling.
Peter Limone, 74, of Medford, was charged with 12 counts of attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming. He’s accused of running a ring of bookmakers who took bets on sporting events and charging other bookmakers to work on his turf in the Boston area and Middlesex County.
Limone spent more than three decades in prison for a 1965 gangland murder that he didn’t commit. He won part of a $101.7 million civil judgment last year after a federal judge found that Boston FBI agents withheld evidence they knew could prove that he and three other men weren’t involved in the killing.
Attorney Juliane Balliro argued Limone should be released on bail, citing his wrongful conviction and decades behind bars.
“No defendant in the Commonwealth is as deserving of the presumption of innocence as Mr. Limone,” Balliro said.
For Full Story

Is ex-A.G. Alberto Gonzales Gearing Up to Protect Himself in U.S. Atty. Firing Probe?

Former A.G. Alberto Gonzales left the Justice Department with a big black eye. Now it appears he could be gearing up with more legal help to fend off trouble in the probe into the firing of U.S. Attorneys during his reign.

Ex. A.G. Alberto Gonzales/official photo

Ex. A.G. Alberto Gonzales/official photo

By Zachary Roth
TPM Muckraker

It’s looking more and more like prosecutor Nora Dannehy’s investigation into the US Attorney firings has Alberto Gonzales in its crosshairs.
Earlier this week we reported that Dannehy had contacted the ex-AG in connection with the probe.
Now, we’ve been tipped to legal filings showing that Gonzales’ lawyer, George Terwilliger Jr. of White & Case, is no longer representing Gonzo in a separate case, a civil suit alleging that law students were denied DOJ jobs thanks to illegal politicization at the department under Gonzales.
For Full Story

DEA Dedicates $16.4 Million Building For Training to Deal With Methamphetamine

DEA Agents Simulate Meth Raid During Dedication/ticklethewire.com photo

DEA Agents Simulate Meth Raid During Building Dedication/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

QUANTICO , Va. — DEA agents in swat outfits simulated raids on a makeshift methamphetamine lab inside the new-two story building.  A studious-looking man in a white lab coat chatted about the scientific side of the highly-addictive drug made of potentially flammable and explosive chemicals.
It was all part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s dedication Friday for a new $16.4 million clandestine laboratory training and research center in Quantico that has classrooms, labs and a staging area to practice raids on the dangerous meth labs.
John McCarty, special agent in charge of training for the DEA Academy, said the facility will train federal and local law enforcement people around the world to deal with a drug he says is in a class onto itself.
“Hardly anyone recovers” from meth addiction, he said. “It’s one of the most hideous drugs.”

DEA Forensic Chemist Joe Bozenko Explains the Science

DEA Forensic Chemist Joe Bozenko Explains the Science

DEA Agents Show Gear To Protect in Meth Lab Raids/ticklethewire.com photo

DEA Agents Show Protective Gear Used in Meth Lab Raids/ticklethewire.com photo

Head of New England Border Protection Charged With Hiring Illegal Immigrants to Clean Home

Only ONE Question: What is wrong with this picture?


By Jonathan Saltzman and Andrew Ryan
Boston Globe
BOSTON — The regional director of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection was charged today with repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants to clean her Salem home after one cleaner wore a wire during an undercover investigation.
Lorraine Henderson is the director of the Port of Boston, overseeing 190 armed federal officers who patrol major airports and shipping terminals in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
“She’s supposed to be deporting aliens, not hiring them,” said Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly, chief of the public corruption unit.
For Full Story

Read Government’s Court Document


Feds Correct Errors and Indict Barry Bonds for Third Time

In this case, the feds have decided, if you can’t get it right the first or second time, try try again.

By Lance Williams
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 4)– Federal prosecutors in San Francisco indicted Barry Bonds for a third time today, once again rewriting the charges facing the former Giants star to correct technical errors.
Under the new indictment, Bonds is charged with 10 counts of lying under oath and one count of obstruction of justice, all in connection with his testimony in 2003 before the grand jury that investigated the BALCO steroids scandal.
The government contends that Bonds, 44, lied when he said he had never knowingly used banned drugs obtained from the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in Burlingame or from his trainer, Greg Anderson.
To Read More

Read Latest Indictment

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Disastrous Real Estate Market Even Hurting Feds Efforts to Sell Seized Properties In Criminal Cases

There’s not much that the disastrous real estate market hasn’t impacted. Now we see it’s even hurting the feds ability to sell seized properties.

By Ed White
Associated Press
DETROIT – Federal prosecutors twice pursued a former autoworker suspected of running a multimillion-dollar drug operation. The first attempt fizzled when Clarence Carson died shortly after an indictment. The second? Blame it on the collapse of Detroit’s real-estate market.
The government recently abandoned a plan to sell nearly three dozen properties – land, houses and strip malls – believed to have been acquired by Carson through heroin, marijuana and cocaine sales.
“The market tanked,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Ziedas said. “If we were able to effectively market these and come up with some kind of return, we would have done it.”
Like any seller, the U.S. Marshals Service, which is in charge of getting rid of assets grabbed by the Justice Department, is finding that location is the key to real estate these days.
“We are dealing with markets that have either declined slightly or tanked in different regions,” said Dave Turner, a Marshals Service spokesman in Washington.

For Full Story