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Archive for February, 2009

FBI Raided Virginia Defense Lobbying Firm With Close Ties to Rep. John Murtha

Rep. John Murtha/gov. photo

Rep. John Murtha/gov. photo

The real question is: Are the feds focusing in on Rep. John Murtha, the influential pol from Pennsylvania?


By Emma Schwartz and Justin Rood
ABC News

The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.
PMA Group
The FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients.
Good government groups have long criticized Murtha’s cozy relationship with a handful of lobbyists and defense firms, ties that see millions of dollars in government spending go out from Murtha’s office, and hundreds of thousands in campaign donations come in. Murtha has said his earmarking has helped revive his economically depressed district.

For Full Story

Former N.Y. Fed Prosecutor to Become SEC Head of Enforcement

The Securities Exchange Commission has been shamed by the Bernie Madoff case. Lots of changes need to be made so this can’t happen again. Here’s one big one.


By KARA SCANNELL
The Wall Street Journal

Former federal prosecutor Robert Khuzami will be named the new head of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission as soon as this week, a person familiar with the matter said, in the latest bid by the SEC’s new chief to restore its credibility.
Mr. Khuzami, currently a top lawyer at Deutsche Bank AG in New York, was offered and accepted the position of enforcement director, this person said. He will replace Linda Thomsen, the division’s first female director, who is expected to resign this week, the person said. A spokesman for Deutche Bank declined to comment.
Mr. Khuzami and Ms. Thomsen couldn’t be reached for comment. A spokesman for the SEC and a spokesman for Deutche Bank declined to comment.

For Full Story

GOP Examining Dep. Atty. Gen. Nominee David Ogden on Issues Including Obscenity, Abortion and the Death Penalty

David Ogden/law firm photo

David Ogden/law firm photo

The GOP is examining David Ogden’s work as a private lawyer and conservatives are questioning his legal work defending the adult entertainment industry in First Amendment cases. Still, his confirmation seems to be a sure thing.

By David Ingram
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — The nomination of David Ogden to be deputy attorney general has given senators a chance to revisit some of most controversial Supreme Court decisions of the last two decades.
During a two-hour confirmation hearing last week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Ogden about his work on cases involving abortion, the death penalty, foreign law and obscenity, repeatedly asking whether he personally holds the views that he argued on behalf of his clients. The partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr replied that in many cases he does not, and that in others he would still enforce the law if confirmed as the No. 2 official at the Justice Department.
Anti-pornography activists have been among the most vocal critics of Ogden’s nomination because of his work on behalf of the adult entertainment industry in First Amendment cases.
“A lawyer in private practice does not sit in judgment of his clients. His job is to present their view as persuasively as possible,” Ogden said at the Feb. 5 hearing.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

New England Mobster to Hitman: “Shoot Him in the F—ing Head…Say ‘This is From the Saint’

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Anthony St. Laurent Sr. gave a hired hitman some simple instructions before rubbing out rival New England mobster Robert DeLuca: “Shoot him in the f–ing head…Say ‘This is from the Saint.”
Unfortunately for St. Laurent, a “made man” in the Patriarca crime family, the hitman was actually an undercover police officer, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I.
St. Laurent, 67, already serving time in prison for extortion, now faces a charge of solicitation to commit murder for hire, according to the Justice Department.
St. Laurent spoke Monday by video conference to U.S. District Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond in Providence, who assigned him a court appointed attorney, according to the Providence Journal.
U.S. Atty. Clark Corrente of Providence said the charges were part of ongoing effort to crackdown on organized crime.
“Federal, state and local law enforcement throughout New England are ramping up the campaign against organized crime,” he said in a statement.
In 2006, according to a court affidavit, St. Laurent allegedly offered two people $20,000 to kill DeLuca. However, authorities said, the duo declined and expressed concern that DeLuca was a “made” member of the Mob and killing him might result in retribution.
In 2007, St. Laurent went off to prison to serve a 56-month sentence for extortion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Behind bars, according to the government affidavit, he told a fellow inmate to pass on his wishes about killing DeLuca to a visitor – a cop, who was posing as a hitman.
St. Laurent is currently at the Federal Medical Facility in Fort Devens, Mass.

Feds Want D.C.’s Marion Barry Jailed For Failing to Pay Taxes Again

Bernie Ripoff Reaches Deal With SEC in Civil Proceeding

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff/cbs news

The civil case may be settled, but many are still waiting for the criminal case and for Bernie Madoff to head off to prison.
By CBS and Associated Press
The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday announced an agreement with disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff that could eventually force him to pay a civil fine and return money raised from investors.
The partial judgment must be approved by the judge overseeing the Madoff case in federal court in Manhattan.
The civil proceeding is separate from the criminal case against the prominent Wall Street figure, who is accused of bilking $50 billion from investors in what may be the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff was arrested in December after allegedly confessing to his sons that he had stolen from investors for years.
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to revoke the bail of Madoff, who has been confined to his Manhattan penthouse under house arrest. Madoff, who has not been indicted, is widely expected to eventually enter into a criminal plea deal with prosecutors.

For Full Story

Two Ex-Fed Prosecutors Among Those Vying for Miami U.S. Atty. Job

U.S. Atty. R. Alexander Acosta/ gov photo

U.S. Atty. R. Alexander Acosta/ gov photo

Along with Washington and New York, the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office is considered one of the higher profile offices in the country. The race is on for the seat.

BY JAY WEAVER
MiamiHerald.com
MIAMI — Unlike the Bush and Clinton administrations, President Barack Obama isn’t immediately pushing the U.S. attorneys in Miami and 92 other offices out the door.
The new president has asked the top federal prosecutor in South Florida, R. Alexander Acosta, and his colleagues around the country to “continue to serve for the time being.”
In Acosta’s case, that could be until the spring. The Bush-appointed U.S. attorney is rumored to be considering a job in a law firm or academia. His only comment is that he’s committed to staying in South Florida.
For Full Story

RNC Chair Michael Steele Says FBI Winding Down Probe into Payment to Sister

Nothing like starting out your new job with a good Washington scandal.

By Henri E. Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Michael Steele/ rnc photo

Michael Steele/ rnc photo

WASHINGTON — Michael S. Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, said yesterday that there was nothing improper in a payment of more than $37,000 to his sister’s company for work on his 2006 Senate campaign and that he would work with the FBI “to clear up my good name.”
In his first public comments on the inquiry, Steele said on ABC’s “This Week” that the FBI is “winding this thing down,” although he did not explain how he knew that.
In recent days, federal agents have contacted his sister, Monica Turner, according to a spokesman for Steele. Steele said those contacts were for “purposes of closing out” the matter. He said he will be “proactive” in gathering information to give to the FBI.
“I’m not going to wait for them to come to me,” Steele said. “I’m going to take it to them. I’m going to give them everything that they think they need, and if that’s not enough, we’ll give them more, because I want to clear up my good name. This is not the way I intend to run the RNC, with this over my head. We’re going to dispense with it immediately.”
For Full Story