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Archive for February 25th, 2009

Ex-Banker Indicted For Bribery in a Case With Links to Ex-Congresman William Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — An ex-official of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in Washington was indicted on charges of taking a $100,000 bribe from Nigerian businessmen in connection with a Kentucky high-tech firm linked to Rep. William Jefferson and his public corruption case.

According to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Maureen Njideka Edu, 42, of Potomac, Md., worked as a business development specialist covering Africa and was a contact person for Congressman Jefferson.

The indictment, which refers to Jefferson as Representative A, said Jefferson introduced Edu to the Nigerian businessmen who were seeking financing to buy products and services from iGate Inc.,  a  Kentucky firm that offered broadband and cable tv technology . The owner of iGate, Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty in 2006 to giving  bribes to Congressman Jefferson to land business in Africa.

According to the indictment, the Nigerian businessmen offered to pay Edu $173,500, with an initial installment of $100,000 to secure money from the bank.

On Feb. 27, 2004, a wire transfer was sent to Edu’s personal bank account in Washington, the indictment said. The business deal eventually fell through as a result of disputes between the Nigerian businessmen and the Kentucky firm.

The indictment does not accuse Jefferson of any crimes. Jefferson lost a bid for re-election last year and is awaiting a May trial on public corruption charges in Alexandria, Va.. Judy Smith, spokeswoman for Jefferson, declined to comment last night on the Edu indictment.

Read Indictment

Authorities Roundup 48 Suspects in U.S. in Crackdown on Mexican Drug Cartel

Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo
Weapons seized in operation/DEA photo

More and more media outlets in recent months were reporting on  Mexican drug violence that was spilling into the U.S. Authorities hope this will address some of the problem, but obviously it will take more than this to make it go away.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Federal authorities said today that they have arrested 48 people in California, Minnesota and Maryland as part of a 21-month investigation targeting the Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization that U.S. officials fear has spread into scores of American cities.

In Operation Xcellerator, federal, state and local law enforcement officials in the U.S. worked closely with authorities in Mexico and Canada to arrest more than 751 people on narcotics-related charges, and seized more than 20 tons of narcotics, a Justice Department official said.

Thomas Saenz Tapped to Head Justice Dept. Civil Rights Division

Thomas Saenz

Thomas Saenz

The selection of Thomas  Saenz is getting a thumbs up from the civil rights attorneys and academics, which is important considering the division had its share of problems during the Bush years.

By Wall Street Journal Law Blog

This just in: The Los Angeles Daily Journal is reporting that President Obama has tapped Thomas Saenz to head the civil rights division at the Department of Justice.

Saenz, 42, the former vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles, is currently serving as counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Neither Saenz nor representatives from the DOJ provided comment to the LADJ, which cited unnamed sources.

For Full Story

Former Secret Service Agent Earl Devaney to Watch Over Stimulus Package

Earl Devaney, a former Secret Service agent, doesn’t look like the kind who takes tasks lightly. And he isn’t. But let’s see if he can keep a handle on the monstrous spending package.

Earl Devaney
Earl Devaney

By Christopher Weaver
ProPublica

Earl Devaney, the inspector general behind such classic exposes of government graft as the Jack Abramoff scandal and last autumn’s revelations of sex, drugs and corruption  at a Department of Interior program, will turn his scrutiny to the stimulus package.

President Obama named Devaney to chair the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board on Monday, saying in a statement: “Joe [Biden] and I can’t think of a more tenacious and efficient guardian of the hard-earned tax dollars the American people have entrusted us to wisely invest.”

By all accounts, Devaney, a former white-collar crime expert in the Secret Service, has earned the praise. The Project on Government Oversight , a group that’s repeatedly dinged the Obama administration over transparency issues and living up to its own ethics standards, wrote glowingly of the latest appointment.

“The ‘Big Guy,’ as [Devaney] is known around IG circles, is no typical Washington insider,” they said. “He still maintains POGO’s favorite emotion — outrage  — when there is misconduct in the handling of federal funds.”

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Drug Czar Nominee Robert Kerlikowske Not Big on Pot Busts

The new drug czar may have a different approach to drugs. For one, his record as Seattle Police chief shows he’s not big on focusing on marijuana busts. But can he offer up a different enough approach to make an impact on a war on drugs in which victory is always beyond reach?   And what will he offer up to deal with the ever-dangerous drug war in Mexico that’s spilling over into U.S. borders?

Robert Gil Kerlikowske

Robert Gil Kerlikowske

By AllGov
President Obama’s apparent nominee to be the nation’s new “drug czar,” Robert Gil Kerlikowske, has spent nearly 30 years in law enforcement, including a stint as a narcotics officer and eight years as Seattle’s police chief, during which he downplayed the importance of arresting individuals for marijuana possession.

Born in Fort Myers, Florida, in 1949, Kerlikowske was raised by his mother and stepfather, who was a judge. As a high school student, Kerlikowske worked as a crime scene photographer on weekends, and he discovered his love for law enforcement while fingerprinting criminals at a Florida jail.

Kerlikowske enrolled in St. Petersburg Junior College, but was drafted into the army in 1970, and joined the Army Military Police. He was stationed in Washington, DC, where his duties included saluting then-President Richard Nixon as he boarded the Marine One helicopter.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Chicago Mayor Daley Blasts Feds For Overlooking Blatant Drug and Gun Trafficking

Mayor Richard Daley/official photo

Mayor Richard Daley/official photo

Never one to be shy, the mayor blasted the feds out of frustration for what he sees in his city. The big question is whether he has a legit gripe or just needs to blow off some steam.

By Dan Mihalopoulos
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — In a trademark rambling soliloquy, Mayor Richard Daley on Tuesday accused federal authorities of often overlooking blatant drug dealing and gun trafficking.

At the same time, Daley said, federal law enforcement is overzealous in chasing down star athletes such as Barry Bonds and Michael Vick and local officials who take small bribes.

“How can [drug kingpins] accumulate money every week, every month, have three of four homes, drive the best cars, have the best nail shops, and a lot of other things, the best girls, all the jewelry and nobody says anything?” said Daley, his voice at times rising to a high-pitched squeal.

“But if someone takes $100, it could be a Chicago policeman or anybody else, the feds are right there knocking on your door,” he added.
For Full Story

Afghan Immigrant Says He Faces Charges Because He Refused to Be an FBI Snitch

By Associated Press
SANTA ANA, Calif – An Afghan immigrant accused of lying on his citizenship application is claiming he is being charged because he refused to become an FBI informant.

Ahmad Niazi was arrested in Orange County last week on perjury, passport fraud and other charges. Authorities allege he is the brother-in-law of Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard, and that he lied when he wrote on his naturalization papers that he has no ties to a terrorist group.
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