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Archive for March, 2009

CIA Officer Accused of Rape Claimed to be an FBI Agent At One Point

cia

This guy sounded like big big trouble. Who knows what he got away with when he was overseas.

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Andrew Warren, the former CIA officer accused of date rape in Algiers late last year, caused such a ruckus over parking dispute at a Washington, D.C. hotel three years earlier that the matter was referred to the FBI.

Multiple sources said Warren flashed official credentials and claimed to be an FBI agent during the dispute, which took place in late 2004 or early 2005 when he was escorting Egyptian intelligence officials on an official visit to the CIA.

Warren was a senior CIA operative in Egypt at the time, said the sources, which include two senior former spy agency experts on the region, who demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing the matter.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Justice Dept. Lawyer DeMaurice Smith to Head NFL Players Assoc.

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith

It looks like the NFL players are in good hands if Smith’s credentials are any indication. With an economy in the dumps and issues like steroids always surfacing, Smith should have his hands full.

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Washington lawyer DeMaurice F. Smith was voted the executive director of the NFL Players Association last night, the union announced.

Smith was elected on the first ballot by a majority vote of the players who serve as union representatives for the 32 teams, sources familiar with the voting results said. The vote took place at the union’s annual meetings in Maui, Hawaii.

Smith is a D.C.-based partner at the firm Patton Boggs with no significant previous NFL ties. He succeeds the late Gene Upshaw.

For Full Story

A Snapshot of Justice Dept. Nominee Dawn Johnsen: Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

By AllGov
Dawn E. Johnsen is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s use of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)-a key part of the Department of Justice that she once led on an interim basis during the Clinton presidency and has been asked to lead again.

During her previous tenure at OLC, she advocated for increased executive power. In 2006, she joined with several other Clinton Justice Department officials in support of retaining the right of the president to use “signing statements” that allow him to bypass laws, claiming that the practice should be retained even if President Bush abused it.

Johnsen does not support the prosecution of CIA operatives and contract employees who committed torture. She does support investigating how it came to pass that the “OLC misinterpreted the law in a way that led to torture.”

Born August 14, 1961, and raised on Long Island, Johnsen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College in 1983, with a BA in economics and political science. She was accepted into Yale Law School, where she served as the article and book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. She received her JD in 1986, and proceeded to clerk for Judge Richard D. Cudahy on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. It was here that Johnsen met her future husband, fellow clerk John Hamilton.
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Appellate Judge Blasts Federal Prosecutor in Salad Dressing Conviction

henries31In this harsh criticism of a federal prosecutor, an appellate judge took the unusual step of specifically mentioning the prosecutor by name. Federal prosecutors should probably take note of the ruling to avoid similar situations in the future.

By Ameet Sachdev
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — U.S. Appeals Judge Richard Posner is known for his provocative opinions, but his harsh criticism of a Chicago federal prosecutor surprises even close court observers.

In a March 12 opinion overturning a 2007 conviction of a suburban businessman who had relabeled bottles of salad dressing, Posner blasted Assistant U.S. Atty. Juliet Sorensen for improper statements. Posner said the appellate panel tossed out the guilty verdict because of insufficient evidence, but he added that even if there had been enough proof, he would have ordered a new trial because of the “prosecutor’s misconduct.”

It’s not unusual for judges to be critical of prosecutorial tactics. But Posner’s rebuke is drawing attention because he identified the prosecutor by name and called for sanctions.

“The government’s appellate lawyer told us that the prosecutor’s superior would give her a talking-to,” Posner wrote in the opinion that was joined by two other judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “We are not impressed by the suggestion.”

For Full Story

Ex-Penn. State Senator Vincent Fumo Found Guilty on 137 Counts; Judge Brushes Off Facebook Controversy

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/whtm.com photo

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/whtm.com photo

After a long drawn out court battle, the ex-state Sen. Vincent Fumo
got hit big– a conviction on all 137 counts. His attorneys tried this morning to derail the deliberations after discovering that one juror had posted a note on Facebook saying “Stay Tuned” for Monday. But after questioning the juror, the judge denied the defense motion. Expect that issue to come up on appeal.

By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Emilie Lounsberry and Robert Moran
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — Former State Sen. Vincent Fumo was convicted of all 137 counts against him today as his marathon federal corruption trial ended in a stunning victory for prosecutors.

The jury also found co-defendant Ruth Arnao guilty of all 45 counts against her.

After a 30-minute hearing this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter agreed to let Fumo and Arnao remain free pending sentencing although he ordered them to post bail of $2 million and $500,000, respectively, by Wednesday.

The two had been free on unsecured own-recognizance bail since they were charged.

Fumo’s bail will be secured by properties he owns in Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania, the Jersey Shore and Florida; Arnao’s will be secured by her home in Philadelphia.

For Full Story

Fed Grand Jury Probing Alabama Atty. Gen.

Atty. Gen. Troy King

Atty. Gen. Troy King

This is one heck of an interesting situation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery has recused itself and the Birmingham office is handling the probe which seems to be focusing on a variety of matters including gambling and selective prosecution. It’s never good when a state Attorney General is the target of a federal probe, whether there’s something there or not.

By Bob Gambacurta
The Montgomery Independent
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A special called federal grand jury in Montgomery, investigating the Alabama Attorney General and the activities of his office, heard from more than a half-dozen witnesses last week. News of the grand jury investigation caught even the target, Attorney General Troy King, by surprise.

“Sure, that would be a surprise,” King told the Montgomery Independent Monday afternoon when contacted about the investigation. Friends and staff of the Republican Attorney General said they were “shocked” to learn of the investigation.

The Independent broke the story Monday at 7:55 p.m. with a posting on this Web site. Multiple, highly-placed sources told the Independent that at least seven former employees of the Attorney General’s office were called to testify Monday through Friday of last week.

For Full Story

Will Facebook Comment Derail Jury Deliberations in Philly Federal Corruption Case?

facebook1This was bound to happen. Some folks on Facebook want to announce their every burp and scratch. But in this case, the ramblings of one Facebook member could be costly. As the Facebook message says “STAY TUNED…”

By KITTY CAPARELLA
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — “STAY TUNED for a big announcement on Monday everyone!”

So wrote a blogging juror who’s been deliberating for five days in the public corruption trial of former state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, in a comment posted Friday on his Facebook Internet profile.

The posting by Juror No. 5 – Eric Wuest of suburban College-ville – raised questions:

Is a verdict imminent? Did Wuest have third-party discussions about the trial as a result of his postings on Facebook and Twitter social networking Internet accounts during the 15-week trial and the ensuing deliberations?

Last night, Fumo defense attorneys NiaLena Caravasos and Peter Goldberger filed an emergency motion seeking an immediate suspension of deliberations so the judge could conduct “a delicate, but probing inquiry” of the juror Wuest’s actions.

“Depending on the results, the lawyers wrote, “one or more jurors ought to be removed and possibly replaced.”

For Full Story

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

Dick Cheney Says He Strongly Disagreed With Bush Over Scooter Libby Pardon

Dick Cheney while still v.p.

Dick Cheney while still v.p.

Perhaps one of the more surprising things at the end of the Bush era was that the president did not offer pardons to more high-profile people, particular those like Scooter Libby. Obviously, the grief President Clinton got for pardoning financier Marc Rich must have had some impact on his decision to pass on many pardons.

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former vice president Richard B. Cheney
said yesterday that he strongly disagreed with President Bush’s decision not to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, saying his former chief of staff had been left “hanging in the wind.”

“I think he’s an innocent man who deserves a pardon,” Cheney said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” in what the cable news program billed as his first television interview since leaving office in January.

Libby, Cheney’s top adviser, was the only Bush administration official to face criminal charges in the case surrounding the exposure of Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA operative in 2003.

For Full Story