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Archive for January, 2009

Atty. Gen. Worried About Repercussions of “Torture” For Govt. Agents and Lawyers

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

The issue of “torture” could have serious ramifications as the Obama administration comes in. Will some government people be subject to prosecution? Will some pending criminal cases get tossed  as a result? We shall see.

By EVAN PEREZ
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael Mukasey raised concerns that government agents and national security lawyers may be at risk for criminal prosecution after his likely successor, Eric Holder, declared that waterboarding of terror detainees is torture.
The 67-year-old former federal judge in New York, who took office 14 months ago, said in an interview that the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama faces a “conundrum” as it tries to shut down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Word that Mr. Obama plans to issue an executive order to close the prison has caused worry among Justice Department lawyers who fear evidence backing the cases against many of the approximately 250 detainees wouldn’t hold up in a conventional court proceeding.
For Full Story

Govt. Has Beef With USDA Worker Using Computer To Run Prostitution Ring

Sounds like more interesting work than USDA business.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
ST. LOUIS — A woman who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Kansas City is accused of running an online prostitution business through her office computer.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis on Wednesday announced the indictments of 36-year-old John O. Miller and 26-year-old Laurie Lynn McConnell, both of Kansas City. Both face charges related to prostitution and money laundering.
McConnell was a statistician with the USDA Risk Management Agency until April. Miller was not a USDA employee.
For Full Story

A.G. Nominee Holder Picks Up Backing of Another Republican

The backing of another Republican lawmaker should boost Eric Holder’s chances of confirmation, which  already seems very likely.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. won support yesterday from another Republican lawmaker, all but ensuring his candidacy will proceed smoothly and not fall to a GOP filibuster.
Holder, a former judge and U.S. attorney in the District, met Friday morning with Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and picked up his endorsement a day after a grueling confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Eric Holder understands the unique role of the Attorney General and further, I think he’s qualified to serve in that role,” Martinez said in a written statement. “Therefore, I intend to support Mr. Holder’s confirmation and urge my colleagues to do the same.”
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mobster Gotti To Remain a Jailbird Pending Trial

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

Apparently John Gotti Jr.’s rep is doing him no good. A federal judge just didn’t buy the assertion by the defense attorneys that he’s a great and trustworthy guy.

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Mob scion John A. “Junior” Gotti should stay behind bars while awaiting trial on charges he was involved in three gangland murders and cocaine trafficking, a judge ruled today.
The charges against Gotti “are serious,” U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel said at the conclusion of a hearing in Manhattan federal court. “They provide a motive to flee.”
It was the first court appearance for Gotti in the city since his latest criminal case was transferred from Tampa, where a racketeering indictment against him was unsealed last year. Gotti, looking fit and upbeat, smiled broadly at his younger brother in the audience and pumped his fist as he entered the courtroom.
“I feel good,” the 44-year-old son of late Gambino crime family boss John Gotti said when the judge asked if he was prepared to decide whether to keep his lawyer.
For Full Story

Prosecutors Get OK From A.G. Mukasey to Seek Death Penalty in 2008 Slaying of UNC-Chapel Hill Student

Eve Carson/university photo

Eve Carson/university photo

By Anne Blythe
Raleigh News&Observer
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Four days before the presidential transfer of power, the U.S. attorney general authorized federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty in their carjacking and firearm cases against Demario Atwater.
Atwater, 22, is one of two suspects accused of kidnapping and murdering Eve Carson, the admired UNC-Chapel Hill student body president found shot to death in March of last year.

For Full Story

Read Indictment

“America’s Sheriff” Acquitted in Calif. On All But One Fed Charge

America’s Sheriff — make that ex-sheriff —  must really believe in America after this verdict. He was acquitted on everything but one count of witness tampering.

By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI, LARRY WELBORN, ANDREW GALVIN and DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register
SANTA ANA – An Orange County jury today acquitted ex-Sheriff Mike Carona of conspiracy, rejecting the government’s claim that he participated in a six-year scheme to illegally win office and use his position to enrich himself and his inner circle.
Carona sobbed and laid his head on a table as a court clerk read the verdict: not guilty of conspiracy, not guilty of mail fraud, not guilty of one count of witness tampering. Guilty on a second count of witness tampering.
“What you are watching is an absolute miracle,” Carona said as he hugged friends and family members. “If you don’t believe in God, now you should.”
For Full Story

FBI Agents Raid 2 Detroit Businesses in City Hall Probe

The ex-mayor is in jail on state charges. The FBI is investigating him and city hall corruption. And Detroit is in the economic dumps. Not a pretty picture.

BY JOE SWICKARD, M.L. ELRICK and JIM SCHAEFER
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Federal agents converged on double fronts Thursday in their wide-ranging investigation into City Hall corruption, raiding two businesses linked to a city contractor who is a longtime friend of disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
The searches of offices linked to Bobby Ferguson followed last weekend’s news that a grand jury is seeking the testimony of a veteran City Council aide as part of the probe into allegations that officials have taken bribes for city contracts.
A City Hall official with knowledge of the federal investigation said Thursday’s raids were tied into the probe of an alleged pay-to-play scheme in city government for contracts, including those at Cobo Center, as well as a controversial sludge-hauling deal awarded to Synagro Technologies of Houston. The official requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
By afternoon Thursday, agents lugged about a dozen boxes — one marked “2008 bank statements” — from Ferguson Enterprises Inc. on Wyoming on the city’s west side.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Fed Judge Allows Govt To Pursue Criminal Contempt Charges Against Ex-Fla Professor For Refusing to Testify in Grand Jury About Muslim Groups (AP)

Barry Bonds’ Lawyers Say Steroid Tests Unreliable

The court battle is nearing and this should get a lot more interesting . It could end up being more exciting than a Giants game.

By Lance Williams
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors cannot conclusively link Barry Bonds to positive steroid tests seized in a raid on the BALCO laboratory, lawyers for the former Giants slugger say.
In documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Bonds’ defense team asked a judge to sharply restrict the evidence the government may use in prosecuting Bonds for allegedly lying to a grand jury in 2003 about his use of banned drugs.
They asked Judge Susan Illston to bar the use of the drug tests, which prosecutors say prove that Bonds used steroids and then lied when he told the grand jury he had never used banned substances.
But the defense lawyers contend there is insufficient evidence that the tests, seized by federal agents in their September 2003 raid on the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in Burlingame, were actually performed on samples submitted by Bonds.
For Full Story
Read Barry Bond Motion