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April 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for April 6th, 2009

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christopher Christie Defends No Bid Contract

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is finding out that running for Governor comes with a lot of public scrutiny — more than being U.S. Attorney. And as the race heats up, it’s likely to intensify.

Christopher Christie

Christopher Christie

The Associated Press
TRENTON – Former U.S. attorney Christopher Christie, who is running for governor as a Republican in New Jersey, defended handing a multi-million-dollar, no bid contract to an ex-federal prosecutor who declined to criminally prosecute Christie’s brother on stock fraud charges two years earlier.

“We made the selections based upon who we thought were the most qualified, the best, to be able to execute these jobs,” Christie said of the lawyers he hand-picked to receive lucrative federal monitoring contracts.

The leading candidate for New Jersey’s Republican gubernatorial nomination called a news conference Monday to address growing concerns over his use of deferred prosecution agreements while serving as U.S. attorney.

The agreements are settlements between the government and a corporation accused of wrongdoing that use a monitor to resolve white-collar crime allegations without a federal trial.

Christie chose David Kelley in 2007 to help oversee an out-of-court settlement with five medical device manufacturers implicated in a doctor kickback scheme. Two years earlier as U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Kelley investigated a stock fraud case in which 20 traders including Christie’s younger brother, Todd, were accused of improper trading. Todd Christie was one of five traders not charged criminally; his company paid a civil penalty of $16.5 million.

Christie Says Don’t Make My Brother an Issue (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Obama Administration Defends Bush Wiretaps

at-tNow this is when it all gets interesting.  The Obama administration has advocated transparency and has been critical of the Bush administration trampling on constitutional rights. Now it is defending the Bush regime’s actions. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the court of public opinion.

By Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration’s wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records.Disclosure of information sought by the customers, “which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security,” Justice Department lawyers said in papers filed Friday in San Francisco.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a lawyer for the customers, said Monday the filing was disappointing in light of the Obama presidential campaign’s “unceasing criticism of Bush-era secrecy and promise for more transparency.”

In a 2006 lawsuit, the AT&T plaintiffs accused the company of allowing the National Security Agency to intercept calls and e-mails and inspect records of millions of customers without warrants or evidence of wrongdoing.

For Full Story

Ex-N.Y. Gov Eliot Spitzer Talks About His Scandal

Ex- New York Times Reporter Judith Miller Says Press Battle With Ex-Fed Prosecutor Shows Need For Shield Law

By Judith Miller
New York Post

ON April 20, Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter may win his second Pulitzer Prize.

Judith Miller/photo

Judith Miller/photo

The next day, he may head to jail.

Ashenfelter, 60, is the latest reporter to face prison for refusing to reveal his confidential sources — in this case, for a story he wrote in 2004 about alleged misconduct by a prosecutor in a terrorism case in Detroit soon after 9/11.

Jail time became a real possibility when US District Judge Robert Cleland recently refused to delay Ashenfelter’s deposition about his sources or let him take his case to an appeals court.

The case is unusual in that Ashenfelter claims that his refusal to divulge the identify of his sources is justified not only by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression, but also by the Fifth Amendment, which protects him against self-incrimination.

Many journalists have been uneasy about this invocation of the Fifth Amendment — arguing that it suggests, inaccurately, that he may have done something wrong. But the lack of a federal shield law that would legitimize his stance has forced Ashenfelter to resort to some legal creativity.

For Full Story

Ex-Gov. Blago May Have to Test his Fundraising Skills to Raise Cash For Lawyers

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

No question ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is going to line up a top notch defense team. But he may not get exactly who he wants if he doesn’t come up with cash. Too late to shake down everyone in exchange for favors. He has nothing to offer. Now his fund raising skills will be put to the test.

Lynne Marek
The National Law Journal

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s criminal defense team is still in flux even as a whopping 75-page federal indictment landed on him this week.

The ex-governor, who was socked with political corruption charges in December, hasn’t been able to solidify his criminal defense team mainly because it has been unclear how he will pay his lawyers if the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago freezes his campaign funds, which otherwise could be used to pay his attorney fees.

While several Chicago criminal defense lawyers, including Terry Gillespie and Alan Brunell, say they have spoken with the governor about working on the case, final decisions have hung in the balance because of a lack of clarity on the money issue and the extensiveness on the indictment. Assessment of those issues can begin now in light of the April 2 indictment naming not only the governor, but also the governor’s brother and campaign fund chairman, Robert Blagojevich, among other defendants.
For Full Story


Judge  Orders Justice to Turn Over Documents in Stevens Case (Washington Post)

Mother of Slain FBI Agent Feels the Pain in Slaying of 3 Pittsburgh Cops

FBI Agent Sam Hicks

FBI Agent Sam Hicks

It’s so hard to imagine three Pittsburgh cops being slain at once. The slayings are bringing up certain emotions for Charlotte Hicks Carrabotta whose son, FBI agent Sam Hicks, was gunned down last year.

By Anya Sostek
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PITTSBURGH –– For the last five months, Charlotte Hicks Carrabotta has inched through the grieving process for her son, FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks, who was killed last year while serving a warrant in Indiana Township.

Yesterday, she found herself horrified by the fact that three new families were about to embark on the same painful journey.

“It cannot even be explained what you go through,” said Ms. Carrabotta, of Rockwood, Somerset County. “First you’re numb, then angry, then you realize that none of it does any good. You just take it one day at a time and be appreciative that you had what you did.”

Shortly after her son died, she was overwhelmed with well-wishers, condolences from friends and strangers and offers of assistance — none of which even started to fill the void left by her son’s death.

“What you want, they can’t do,” she said, “and that’s to bring them back.”
For Full Story