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May 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for May, 2009

Ex-Assist. U.S. Atty Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Ring


Former federal prosecutor Paul Bergrin found that he could run a $1,000 an hour escort service and charge more than an attorney does. Now he’s paying for it.

Daniel Wise
New York Law Journal

More than two years after being accused of operating a Manhattan-based call-girl ring, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney was allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts under a deal that resulted in no jail time.

Paul Bergrin, 53, who was a solo practitioner when he was indicted in 2007, faced a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years if convicted on the top count against him, first-degree money laundering. In all, he was charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors.

Bergrin, a former prosecutor for Essex County and for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, was accused of taking over the operation of a $1,000-an-hour escort service called NY Confidential after its manager, Jason Itzler, was arrested in January, 2005.

Bergrin was also accused of falsely telling the New Jersey Parole Board that Itzler, who was his client, had worked for him as a paralegal in a case where Bergrin was defending a soldier accused of committing abuses at the Abu Graib prison in Iraq.

For Full Story

Feds Lining Up Ex-Gov Blago’s Ex-Allies to Bury Him in Trial

Allies one day, enemies the next. That’s the lesson ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is learning as the government lines up witnesses to try and bury him during trial.

By Jeff Coen
Tribune reporter

CHICAGO — Several onetime allies of for
Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in better times

mer Gov. Rod Blagojevich have already lined up as government witnesses against him, and another close friend and confidant could be next.

Sources familiar with the case said Christopher Kelly has had preliminary discussions with prosecutors about possibly cooperating, but he has not yet agreed to do so.

As Kelly weighs his future, his lawyers asked a federal judge Tuesday to delay his sentencing until October. Kelly, 50, a wealthy roofing company owner, pleaded guilty in January to tax-fraud charges for concealing his use of corporate funds to cover gambling debts. U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo is considering the request.

Prosecutors have ratcheted up pressure on Kelly, hitting him with two additional charges since he pleaded guilty to the tax offenses. He was charged with taking part in a kickback scheme to rip off United and American Airlines at O’Hare International Airport.

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Mexican Drug Cartel Threatening to Take on U.S. Law Enforcement

Joaquin Guzman

Joaquin Guzman

As if we needed more evidence of the threat the Mexican cartels pose to the United States, here’s the latest. Don’t be surprised to see more DEA agents in Mexico and possibly other U.S. personnel from other agencies– and even the military.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
SELLS, Ariz. — The reputed head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel is threatening a more aggressive stance against competitors and law enforcement north of the border, instructing associates to use deadly force, if needed, to protect increasingly contested trafficking operations, authorities said.

Such a move by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive, would mark a turn from the cartel’s previous position of largely avoiding violent confrontations in the U.S. — either with law enforcement officers or rival traffickers.

Police and federal agents in Arizona said they had recently received at least two law enforcement alerts focused on Guzman’s reported orders that his smugglers should “use their weapons to defend their loads at all costs.”

Former Bushees Lobbying to Get Justice Dept. to Bend Ethics Report on Interrogations


Ahhh.  Now this is Washington politics at its best. We’ll see who, if anyone, is willing to bend the ethics in the ethics report.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

In recent days, attorneys for the subjects of the ethics probe have encouraged senior Bush administration appointees to write and phone Justice Department officials, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

A draft report of more than 200 pages, prepared in January before Bush’s departure, recommends disciplinary action by state bar associations, rather than criminal prosecution, against two former department attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel who might have committed misconduct in preparing and signing the so-called torture memos. State bar associations have the power to suspend a lawyer’s license to practice or impose other penalties.

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Atty. Gen. Holder Assures Federal Judges He’ll Upgrade Professionalism at Justice Dept.

In recent months, federal judges have chastised federal prosecutors around the country including in Washington, Miami and Montana. The newly minted Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. has vowed to address this.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Joe Palazzolo
The National Law Journal
WASHINGTON — In his first confab with the nation’s chief federal district judges, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. pledged to raise the bar of professionalism in the U.S. Department of Justice and acknowledged that the current procedure for reviewing complaints against attorneys was too slow and opaque.

Nine chief judges described the April 21 meeting on the condition of anonymity because it was closed to the public. Holder’s words held the promise of reform for the approximately 90 judges who attended the annual meeting at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington as discovery abuses and other prosecutorial misconduct, new and old, have come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the Ted Stevens case.

For Full Story


Dozens of U.S. Attorneys Remain: How Bi-Partisan Should Administration Be When Deciding Whether to Replace Them?

The Obama administration is faced with a tough challenge: trying to look bi-partisan when it comes to serving up justice while taking advantage of all the political plums available.

By Mary Jacoby
Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Main Justice
WASHINGTON — In March, the Washington Post reported that several highly political Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys were seeking to stay in their posts, prompting fears on the Left that President Obama would leave a cadre of conservative prosecutors in place across the country.

There’s been chatter that some prosecutors are trying to exploit the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal by arguing that if they were replaced now, the Obama administration would be politicizing the Justice Department in the same manner as the Bush White House did.

This argument, of course, is ludicrous: U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president.

It’s true that these powerful law enforcement officials are supposed to administer justice without regard to partisan politics – an issue that was at heart of the U.S. Attorneys firing uproar as it became clear that prosecutors such as David Iglesias in New Mexico were being ousted for refusing to pursue cases against Democrats.

For Full Story

Juror in Miami Terrorism Trial Says Fellow Jurors Making Her Sick to Her Stomach

jury-boxLike the old classic movie “12 Angry Men”, jury deliberations can be intense and extremely difficult. Down in Miami, this terrorism trial seems to fit that bill. The questions is: How will the judge proceed?

Miami Herald
MIAMI — A juror at odds with 11 others deciding the fate of six men charged in a Miami terrorism conspiracy said Monday she isn’t willing to deliberate further because the other jurors are making her sick to her stomach.

”I’m really unwilling because I’m making myself very ill,” testified Juror No. 4, who didn’t show up for deliberations early Monday because of a “stomach virus.”

”I’m not agreeing with what some of the other jurors are saying and they’re holding that against me,” she said outside the other jurors’ presence. “To me, all the negativity is directed at me.”

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard asked the juror, a black woman whose name has not been made public, to come to the courtroom to answer questions about her willingness to follow the law and apply it to the evidence in the case after fellow jurors accused the woman of refusing to deliberate. The incident caused the second, unrelated delay in deliberations, which began on April 27.

Lenard said she will make her decision Tuesday on whether to remove the juror and let the remaining 11 continue deliberations, or replace her with an alternate and have a 12-member jury start anew.

For Full Story

Boston Mobster Donato “Danny” Anguilo Dead at 86


Slowly but surely the mobsters of the old days are passing away around the country. Sometimes their children have stepped in, but often times the kids like John Gotti Jr. haven’t been nearly as smart and have lived off the reputation of their street- smart dads.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Former New England Mafia capo regime Donato “Danny” Angiulo, who was part of a powerful mob family that ruled Boston’s underworld from the 1960s through the mid-1980s, died Sunday night at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after a long illness. He was 86.

His brother, Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo, was the underboss of the Patriarca crime family until an FBI bug planted in his North End headquarters in 1981 captured conversations about homicide, extortion, and loansharking, which led to Boston’s first sensational Mafia trial and the end of the Angiulos’ reign.

In 1986, a federal jury convicted Donato Angiulo and his brothers, Gennaro and Francesco, who was the mob’s accountant, of racketeering, and a third brother, Michele, of illegal gambling.

An Angiulo associate was caught on FBI tapes boasting that South Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his sidekick, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, were friends of the Mafia and would kill for them. More than a decade later it was disclosed that Bulger and Flemmi were longtime FBI informants who had provided information about the interior of Angiulo’s headquarters that assisted agents in planting the bug.

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