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Archive for April, 2009

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

FBI Probing Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and Christmas Party Contributions

Mayor Willie Herenton/city photo

Mayor Willie Herenton/city photo

Now everyone knows that Christmas is a time of generosity. But in this case it appears it is better to give than to receive. And it looks like the Memphis mayor may have illegally received. Next Christmas could be a little gloomier for the mayor.

By Marc Perrusquia
Memphis Commercial Appeal
MEMPHIS — More than $50,000 in contributions to Mayor Willie Herenton’s annual Christmas party actually wound up in the mayor’s pocket, an investigation by The Commercial Appeal has found.

The payments, from an array of prominent businessmen, were to fund the elaborate annual party, yet large surpluses — in one year more than $20,000 — were handed to Herenton for his personal use.

Mayor Willie Herenton was the guest of honor at an Appreciation Party in December 2005, hosted by Pete Aviotti, assistant to the mayor. The FBI is investigating whether the mayor’s receipt of party donations was proper.
For Full Story

U.S. Promised $1.4 Billion to Mexico to Fight Cartels, But Little of That Has Actually Been Spent

mexico-map1


I keep harping on this, but the U.S. better step it up when it comes to assisting Mexico in the war against the drug cartels. This problem has the potential get more out of control, and it’s pretty bad right now. The following is an example of the lax approach to this problem.

By William Booth and Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Foreign Service
MEXICO CITY — After promising $1.4 billion last year under a landmark initiative to help fight drug trafficking in Mexico, the U.S. government has spent almost none of the money, fanning criticism on both sides of the border that the United States is failing to respond quickly to the deepening crisis.

In June, Congress appropriated $400 million to assist Mexico under the first installment of the Merida Initiative, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The three-year aid package was passed as an emergency measure because of deteriorating security in Mexico. In December, the State Department announced that $197 million had been “released.”

For Full Story

Ex-Sen. Stevens May Be Off the Hook But His Political Future is Very Cloudy

No question the fact Ted Stevens was on trial during his Senate campaign for re-election didn’t help. He was defeated. But now, even though the Justice Department is voiding his conviction, the 85-year-old’s political future is in doubt. Some want a new special election for Senate, saying he was robbed of re-election because of the Justice Department’s unjust case. That’s not likely to happen.

By DAN JOLING
Associated Press Writer

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

ANCHORAGE — Former Sen. Ted Stevens may be clear of legal problems, but his future as an Alaska elected official could be over.

Department of Justice prosecutors on Wednesday asked a judge to dismiss an indictment against Stevens and toss out his October conviction on charges of failing to report home renovations and gifts from a wealthy campaign supporter.

However, the 85-year-old politician’s age and scars from the legal battle likely would be used against him in any future race, according to Alaska political observers.

“What has happened to Sen. Stevens is surely tragic,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “But having been given this pause, he would now, I think, not look particularly attractive were he to run for anything.”

Stevens had held the Senate seat since 1968, making him the longest-serving Republican in Senate history. He was responsible for bringing home billions in federal dollars to build up a young state poor in infrastructure long before anyone heard of President Obama’s stimulus package.
For Full Story

FBI Suspects Truckers May Be Serial Killers Involving Prostitutes, Hitchhikers and Stranded Motorists

truckers

This theory could lead to authorities solving some cold cases that have stumped investigators for decades.


Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

The FBI suspects that serial killers working as long-haul truckers are responsible for the slayings of hundreds of prostitutes, hitchhikers and stranded motorists whose bodies have been dumped near highways over the last three decades.

Federal authorities first made the connection about five years ago while helping police link a trucker to a string of unsolved killings along Interstate 40 in Oklahoma and several other states. After that, the FBI launched the Highway Serial Killings Initiative to track suspicious slayings and suspect truckers.

A computer database maintained by the FBI has grown to include information on more than 500 female crime victims, most of whom were killed and their bodies discarded at truck stops, motels and other locations along popular trucking routes crisscrossing the U.S.

The database also has information on scores of truckers who’ve been charged with killings or rapes committed near highways or who are suspects in such crimes, officials said. Authorities said they do not have statistics on whether driving trucks ranks high on the list of occupations of known serial killers.

But the pattern in roadside body dumps and other evidence has prompted many investigators to speculate that the mobility, lack of supervision and access to potential victims that come with the job make it a good cover for someone inclined to kill.

“You’ve got a mobile crime scene,” one investigator said. “You can pick a girl up on the East Coast, kill her two states away and then dump her three states after that.”

For Full Story

History: The J. Edgar Hoover Files: Part 6 in a Series

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGUb2g0KpEc

N.Y. Times Editorial Congratulates A.G. Eric Holder For Dismissing Sen. Stevens Case

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

For eight years the Bush Justice Department cynically put politics and ideology above the law. So it is gratifying to see how Attorney General Eric Holder is handling the case against Ted Stevens, the former Alaska senator who was convicted last year on seven felony counts of ethics violations.

Mr. Holder announced this week that he would ask a judge to drop all charges against Mr. Stevens, a Republican, because of prosecutorial misconduct. Mr. Holder should ensure that the Justice Department gets to the bottom of what went wrong and subject other cases that have raised red flags to similar scrutiny.

Mr. Stevens was convicted of making false statements on Senate disclosure forms to hide an estimated $250,000 in home renovations and gifts, many from Bill Allen, an old friend with close ties to his state’s oil industry. The Justice Department says that prosecutors failed to turn over to the defense notes from an interview with Mr. Allen, a prime witness in the case, which conflicted with parts of his trial testimony.

Prosecutors are legally required to turn over evidence in their possession that would help a defendant prove his innocence. This revelation is only the latest in a series of instances in which Mr. Stevens’s prosecutors appear to have acted wrongly.

To Read the Rest

Read Allan Lengel’s Commentary on the Ted Stevens Case (ticklethewire.com)

Three Baltimore Cops Charged in Beating of Shackled Juvenile: Police Baton and Pool Stick Allegedly Used

baltitmore-police-badge1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A Baltimore cop and two retired ones were charged with federal civil rights violations and obstruction of justice in connection with the 2004 beating of a shackled juvenile with a police baton and a pool stick.

In a six-count indictment unsealed Friday, the Justice Department charged that officer Gregory Mussmacher assaulted the juvenile with a police-issued baton,  and retired officer officer Guy Gerstel used a pool stick.

The Justice Department alleged that Gerstel made a false statement to the FBI about the case,  and retired Sgt. Wayne Thompson wrote a false statement and persuaded other officers from filling out the required paper work on the incident.

“Most law enforcement officers perform their duties with honor and integrity,” Baltimore U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a prepared statement.

“Any police officers who abuse suspects, write false reports and obstruct justice must be held accountable so that citizens can have confidence in law enforcement agencies.”

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