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May 2009


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for May, 2009

Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Stephanie Gallagher Says “Speech or Debate Clause” Making a Comeback in Corruption Cases

Stephanie Gallagher

Stephanie Gallagher

By Stephanie Gallagher
Fraud With Peril Blog

The Speech or Debate Clause seems to be making a comeback. Recently, former Congressman Jefferson invoked it in an effort to have his indictment dismissed. He was unsuccessful.

Now, Baltimore City Councilwoman Holton is relying on its protections in asking a Maryland state court to dismiss a bribery indictment pending against her. She might have a better chance.

The idea behind the Speech or Debate Clause is that legislators should be free to exercise their best judgment without concern that they will be sued civilly or prosecuted criminally for their official acts.

Essentially, the government can’t use official legislative acts, such as votes or statements at legislative sessions, to charge a legislator with a crime.

To Read More

Press Spokesman Channing Phillips Named Interim D.C. U.S. Attorney

justicelogoBy Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — Channing Phillips, a press spokesman and steady hand in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office over the years, who worked for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., will become the interim U.S. Attorney, has learned.

The news comes just one day after U.S. Atty. Jeff Taylor announced that he was stepping down to take a job with the auditing firm of Ernst & Young. Taylor was a well-liked in the office, but it became clear that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wanted to recommend someone for the post and it wasn’t going to be Taylor.

Over the years, Phillips, 51, has worked for a number of U.S. Attorneys including Holder, Taylor and Roscoe Howard, and was well respected by staff and the members of the media.

He is one of five candidates vying for the permanent spot.  This appointment could give him an edge in the contest for the coveted position.

Other candidates vying for the job include: Ron Machen, Roy Austin Jr. , Anjali Chaturvedi and Shanlon Wu.

Phillips worked at the Justice Department from 1990 to 1994 and then came to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1994. He worked for Eric Holder, who was U.S. Attorney under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

He is best known publicly as the office press spokesman. He also served as chief of staff under U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard, who stepped down in 2005.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment and referred calls to the Justice Department, which said an announcement would come later today.

Update 11:50 a.m. : The Justice Department has just issued a press release announcing the appointment. Read Press Release

Homeland Security Launches Tests at 2 Airports to Verify Travel of Foreigners


The good news is that Homeland Security is continuing to work on airport security. The question is how effective this will be and how long will it take to carry this effort out nationwide? And so far the airlines have refused to participate in this.

By Chris Strohm
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department launched test programs at two airports today in an attempt to verify when foreigners and legal permanent residents leave the country, but federal officials remain at odds with the airline industry over the effort.

The objective is to develop a system in which fingerprints are collected at every airport from non-U.S. citizens departing the United States. The fingerprints would be used to verify that visitors have not overstayed the time they are allowed to remain in the country.

Congress has been demanding the implementation of such a visa-enforcement process since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The test programs began today at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and will last for 35 days. The testing will compare the process of collecting fingerprints at checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration to having Customs and Border Protection collect fingerprints at gates.

But what is missing is a test to determine the feasibility of having the airlines, as opposed to the government, collect the fingerprints. Congress asked for such a test in its report accompanying the FY09 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

For Full Story

Indicted Chicago Alder. Isaac Carothers Wore FBI Wire

There’s something to be said about tradition in the great city of Chicago. In the last 36 years, 30 sitting or former aldermen have been convicted of  crimes. Obviously Alderman Carothers is all about upholding tradition. His father, a former alderman, went to prison in the 1980s for extortion.  Viva la tradition.

Alderman Isaac Carothers

Alderman Isaac Carothers

Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — One of Mayor Daley’s closest allies on the City Council has been wearing a wire and secretly recording “public officials and real estate developers” for more than a year, a City Hall bombshell that was revealed in a federal court document Thursday.

Ald. Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th) was charged Thursday with fraud and bribery for allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements and other gifts from a politically connected developer, but he has been cooperating with the feds since April 2008, according to court papers.

A government motion filed in February asked to keep under seal the indictment of the developer — Calvin Boender — until May. It was unsealed Thursday.

The document identifies Carothers as “Public Official A” — with clear identifiers pointing to him, including a reference to one of his family members running for Congress in 2004.

For Full Story

Read Indictment

D.C. U.S. Atty. Jeff Taylor Stepping Down

Jeff Taylor/doj photo

Jeff Taylor/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — D.C. U.S. Attorney Jeff  Taylor, who held one of the higher profile U.S. Attorney posts in the nation, is stepping down this Friday.

Taylor, 44, who held the post since 2006, oversaw some of the biggest FBI investigations including the deadly anthrax probe.

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had made it clear that she planned to recommend a replacement, and Taylor knew he had no chance of staying on under the Obama regime.

His interim replacement is likely to be named by Friday. Melissa Schwartz, a Justice Department spokesperson, said late Thursday afternoon that no one had been named yet.

In a prepared statement, Taylor said:”Serving the residents of the District of Columbia has been the most rewarding experience of my life.”

Taylor will lead the fraud investigation practice at the auditing firm Ernst & Young, according to a company press release.

Before taking the post, from 2002 to 2006, Taylor served as counselor to Attorney Generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales. Prior to that, he was an assistant U.S. Attorney in California and served as counsel to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Initially, Taylor took the U.S. Attorney post on an interim basis and federal judges extended his tenure.

Some candidates for the permanent U.S. Attorney job include the office spokesman Channing Phillips, Ron Machen, Roy Austin Jr. , Anjali Chaturvedi and Shanlon Wu.

So far, President Obama has only nominated six U.S. Attorneys around the nation.

FBI Releases on Website New Files and Photos on Infamous Bank Robbers Bonnie and Clyde

Clyde Barrow/fbi photo

Clyde Barrow/fbi photo

WASHINGTON —  The legend of Bonnie and Clyde lives on 75 years after the infamous couple was gunned down in Louisiana in a law enforcement ambush.

The FBI said it is releasing about 1,000 pages  of new material including photos  from the investigative files of the Dallas FBI office that was recently uncovered while preparing  for an exhibit in Dallas.

Allan Lengel

To See Files And More Photos  Click Here

Baltimore U.S. Atty. Loses Top Staff to Main Justice

U.S. Atty. Rod Rosenstein/gov photo

U.S. Atty. Rod Rosenstein

A game of musical chairs has left the Baltimore U.S. Attorneys office with a void or “brain drain”. Such moves may help main Justice, but may not be so good for the Baltimore U.S. Attorney’s office. Then again, it’s not clear if Rosenstein will get to stick around himself as Pres. Obama begins replacing some Bush appointees.

By Henri Cauvin
Washington Post Staff Write
Maryland’s U.S. attorney, Rod J. Rosenstein, has lost three of his top prosecutors to high-profile jobs at Justice Department headquarters in Washington.

Jason M. Weinstein, who was the chief of violent crimes for the federal prosecutor’s Baltimore office, started this week as a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division at what’s often called Main Justice.

Mythili Raman, who was the U.S. attorney’s appellate chief, has been serving as acting chief of staff in the criminal division at Main Justice since summer and is expected to be kept in the job by the new criminal chief, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer.

James M. Trusty, who was deputy chief of the U.S. attorney’s Greenbelt office and who oversaw the Maryland federal prosecution of the MS-13 gang, became deputy chief of the national gang unit at Main Justice in March.

Breuer said in a statement that the new leaders from Maryland are a testament to the Justice Department’s ability to recognize talent and Rosenstein’s ability to develop it.

For Full Story


Five Defendants in Dallas Get Serious Prison Time For Support of Hamas

fox news photo

fox news photo

All around the country, Islamic groups have been trying to convince federal law enforcement that organizations like Hamas are Freedom Fighters, not terrorist organizations. They also say the money they donate goes for food and education, not terrorism. Regardless, the State Department has put Hamas on the terrorist list and the result in this case has been some serious prison time.

The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — The five defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case were defiant Wednesday while being sentenced for their roles in funneling money to overseas terrorists, expressing disbelief that American law could criminalize the feeding of needy Palestinian people.

Three maintained their steadfast innocence.

The judge in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history disagreed, handing down sentences to two that will likely mean they’ll spend the rest of their lives behind bars for financing the terrorist group Hamas. The others were given sentences ranging from 15 to 20 years.

“Your function in life was raising money to support Hamas,” U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis told one of them in words that were repeated in some fashion as each defendant learned his fate.

“You stated it was to help people, but the motive was to support Hamas,” the judge said. “You state that you are innocent, but the evidence shows the opposite.

For Full Story