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Archive for February 12th, 2009

Grand Jury Subpoenas Ex-Sen. Pete Domenici in U.S. Atty. Firings

Ex-Sen. Pete Domenici

Ex-Sen. Pete Domenici

The subpoena has sent a message that the government is serious about getting to the bottom of the U.S. Attorney firings.

By PETE YOST
Associated Press
WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records of former Sen. Pete Domenici, and prosecutors are preparing to interview an ex-aide to former White House political adviser Karl Rove in an investigation of politically tinged firings of U.S. attorneys.
The moves are the clearest sign yet that the criminal inquiry, which began in September, is likely to continue for many months.
Career federal prosecutor Nora R. Dannehy is looking into whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, other Bush administration officials or Republicans in Congress should face criminal charges in the dismissals.
Some White House officials, including Rove as well as Domenici, R-N.M., the retired senator’s former chief of staff and others refused to be interviewed in an earlier joint inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general and the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Rove has said he will cooperate with Dannehy’s investigation.
Tom Carson, a spokesman for Dannehy, declined to comment.
For Full Story

Police in Maine Say Dirty Bomb Materials Posed No Danger

Police say the materials itself posed no danger, but it sounds like the person who had them might have.

By Eric Russell
Bangor Daily News
BANGOR, Maine – In the wake of revelations that a Belfast man had a stash of potentially hazardous materials at his home when he was killed last December, state Public Safety Commissioner Anne Jordan stressed Wednesday that at no time was the public at risk.
Jordan did confirm that a number of materials were taken from the home of James G. Cummings on the night of Dec. 9, and that the FBI was contacted.
“A [hazardous materials] team from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was called to the home the night of the homicide to remove a number of items from inside the home,” the commissioner said in a statement Wednesday. “An assessment that night by members of the hazmat team indicated the home was safe for State Police detectives to enter and conduct their investigation after the materials had been removed. In addition, detectives felt it was appropriate that the FBI be contacted.”
For Full Story

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuh-ziTiSOE

Mexicans Arrest Man Suspected of Killing Border Patrol Agent

The signs of violence in this region are everywhere along the border. Here’s another example of how the violence is impacting American lives.

By ELLIOT SPAGAT
Associated Press Writer
SAN DIEGO – A man suspected of killing a U.S. Border Patrol agent last year by running him over with a drug-loaded Hummer was arrested Wednesday near a Mexican resort town, the FBI said.
Mexican federal agents arrested Jesus Navarro Montes, 22, near Zihuatenejo in an operation coordinated with the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI said. The U.S. government is seeking his extradition on drug charges.
FBI agents in San Diego want to question Navarro, a Mexican citizen, about the January 2008 death of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar in southeastern California’s Imperial Sand Dunes, where marijuana smugglers have long mixed in with recreational dune riders.
For Full Story

Sen. Schumer’s Chief Counsel Expected To Get N.Y. U.S. Attorney Post

Of all the U.S. Attorney offices, this is one of the highest profile ones in the nation. The office is going after Bernie Madoff and Wall Street.

By AMIR EFRATI
Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration is expected to nominate Preet Bharara, who investigated the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by President George W. Bush, as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, several people familiar with the matter say.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District, who is based in Manhattan, has traditionally played the leading role in policing business-related corruption and white-collar crime and serving as Wall Street’s watchdog. The office is currently handling the investigation of Bernard Madoff’s alleged multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
The 40-year-old Mr. Bharara has yet to be nominated by President Barack Obama. If he is ultimately confirmed by the Senate, he would take over the post at a time of widespread anger at Wall Street, though few major criminal prosecutions.
For Full Story

Can A.G. Eric Holder Jr. Heal the Justice Department’s Wounds of the Past?

Eric Holder Jr/gov photo

Eric Holder Jr/gov photo

President Obama inherited a mess: two wars, a failing economy a sky-high anxiety level around the country, and oh yes, a Justice Department that needed serious mending.
He’s tasked Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. with reparing things at Justice. Can Holder do it?

By Michael Weisskopf
Time magazine
WASHINGTON — Eric Holder Jr. was trained long ago in crime and punishment. He grew up in the East Elmhurst section of Queens, N.Y.–so populated by cops and firefighters that rush hour looked like the shift change at a station house.
A popular teen prank was setting off the red fire-alarm box near his modest brick house on 101st Street. Nearly everyone tried it once, but not Eric, the churchgoing Boy Scout who knew the consequence of disobeying rules: “A good, quick smack on the bottom,” his mother Miriam recalls. “If you did something wrong, you’re going to have to pay a price.”
That rule guided Holder after he left Queens to become a corruption prosecutor, municipal judge and U.S. Attorney. And it will probably guide him as the nation’s 82nd Attorney General. Holder takes over a sprawling, 110,000-person Justice Department that was treated at times like a private law firm by the Bush Administration, both in its novel interpretation of the law and in the way it purged employees who did not share its political views.
For Full Story

More Maddening Madoff News: His Wife Withdrew $15 Million Just Before His Arrest

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

In every passing week, the level of disgust in the Bernie Madoff case rises.

By Reuters
BOSTON/NEW YORK – The wife of Bernard Madoff withdrew more than $15 million from an account linked to the accused swindler in the days before his arrest, Massachusetts authorities said on Wednesday, adding a new layer of intrigue to the probe of the purported $50 billion scam.
Ruth Madoff pulled out $10 million on December 10, the day before her husband was arrested and charged with running a global investment fraud, and $5.5 million on November 25, according to Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.
The disclosure came in reports produced by Cohmad Securities Corp, a firm co-owned by Bernard Madoff that funneled millions of dollars from its clients to the financier. Galvin’s office filed a court complaint trying to suspend Cohmad’s license as a broker in Massachusetts.
For Full Story

Other Stories of Interest

White Powder Triggers Evacuation of FBI Headquarters in El Paso

White powder scares have haunted the American landscape ever since 2001. Offices have been shut down with regularity, and there’s no end in sight.

By The Associated Press
EL PASO, Texas – The FBI headquarters in El Paso was evacuated Wednesday after two people in the mail room were exposed to a white powdery substance.
The employees who came in contact with the powder were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Everyone else in the federal law enforcement building, which houses about 200 FBI employees and nearly 100 U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency personnel, was sent home while hazardous materials crews worked to identify the substance.
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