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Archive for July, 2009

Ex-Penn. Sate Senator Fumo’s Sentence Was Better than the Plea the Feds Offered

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes it pays to gamble with the feds.

That’s what legendary ex-Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent J.  Fumo learned.

The wily politician was apparently offered a plea agreement before trial which called for him to plead guilty to one count of fraud and get no more than 5 years, according to a story in the  Philadelphia Daily News.

Fumo passed on that, went to trial and was convicted. The other day, U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter gave him 55 months in prison, less than what he could have gotten under the plea.

The sentence triggered a lot of griping from a number of people including ex-U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan, who was in office when the case began. Meehan thought the sentence was far too light.

“I was in the courtroom. I have yet to hear him acknowledge that he stole money,” Meehan said, according to the Associated Press.

The Philadelphia Daily News also reported that the 5 year offer was taken off the table in February 2008 and later replaced with a 10 year maximum sentence.

Oilman Testifies That Jefferson Wanted Money for His Brother Up Front

The theme throughout this case has been that then-Rep. William Jefferson tried to make sure his family got a slice of pie. In this case, he tried to make sure his brother Mose got plenty of money.

The Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News

The Jefferson trial/courtesy of Art Lien/NBC News

By Jonathan Tilove and Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, VA. — In January 2002, Louisiana oil entrepreneur John Melton presented then-Rep. William Jefferson with an agreement promising to give Jefferson’s brother, Mose, 3 percent of any profits from oil, fertilizer and other deals Melton was pursuing with the congressman’s help in Nigeria, according to testimony Wednesday.

“He looked at it and dropped it on his desk (and said), ‘This won’t do,’ ” Melton said at the nine-term Democrat’s corruption trial. Jefferson wanted money for his brother up front, Melton said. After a tense discussion, Jefferson asked Melton to walk him back from the meeting at Melton’s office on Poydras Street to Jefferson’s office, a block away in the Hale Boggs Building.

On the way, Melton said he sought to reassure Jefferson.

“You have my word I will maintain your brother’s interest in these projects,” Melton said he told Jefferson. “As the words came out, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if the FBI could have any kind of listening device?’ ”

With that, Judge T.S. Ellis III cut Melton short, telling the jury to disregard what it had just heard.

The FBI was not listening, though Melton’s concern was not misplaced. As the jurors know, Lori Mody, a cooperating witness for the FBI, taped her conversations with Jefferson from March to August 2005, and those tapes have formed the core of the government’s corruption charges against Jefferson.

For Full Story

U.S. Capitol Police Fatally Shoot Man After Car Chase

Dep. U.S. Marshal Convicted of Illegally Obtaining Gun for Reputed New Jersey Gang Member

Not only did this guy get a gun for a reputed gang member, but the gun was loaded with hollow-point bullets. Not a smart move. He was convicted Tuesday.

marshals

By James Queally
Newark Star-Ledger
TRENTON – A Deputy United States Marshal was convicted in federal court today of illegally obtaining a handgun for a 33-year-old ex-felon and reputed gang member whose prior convictions included aggravated assault and robbery, authorities and court papers said today.

Antoine Dobson, 29 of Irvington, used his position as a Marshal to purchase a semi-automatic handgun last year for Larry Langforddavis, a close personal friend from Hillside, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra.

Dobson obtained the weapon, which was loaded with hollow-point bullets, by certifying on a U.S. Marshals’ service letterhead that the gun was for “official use” only, according to Marra.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Holder Announces Funds to Help Local Law Enforcement Fight the Drug War Along U.S.-Mexico Border

border-fence-photo3By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fighting an uphill battle, and acknowledging the daunting task before him,   Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. announced on Wednesday in Los Angeles a $8.7 million grant to help local law enforcement in California  fight the deadly drug war along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We are intensifying our efforts to investigate, extradite, prosecute and punish the cartel leaders and their henchman,” Holder said at a press conference after holding a round table discussion with officials from the DEA, FBI, ATF, ICE and U.S. Marshals.

Holder said in coming days the Justice Dept. will announce nearly $30 million more grants to support local law enforcement agencies in California and four other states.

He said the funding would “help to ensure that our fight against the cartels is tough and smart.”

“The Mexican cartels are sophisticated criminal enterprises with billion dollar budgets,” Holder said. “But today’s round table discussion confirms my confidence  that we have the tools and capacity to defeat them.”

To Read the Full Text of His Speech click HERE

Feds Charge Detroit Political Consultant with Teaming Up with Rep. John Conyer’s Wife to Extort At Least $65,000

Sam Riddle/wdiv
Sam Riddle/wdiv

The political corruption probe continues to unravel in Detroit. The latest charges involve a free-talking political consultant Sam Riddle and  ex-Detroit City council member Monica Conyers, wife of Congressman John Conyers.  Riddle once worked as Monica Conyer’s chief of staff. By the way, this isn’t the end of the corruption charges in Detroit.

BY JOE SWICKARD, BEN SCHMITT, DAVID ASHENFELTER AND GINA DAMRON
Detroit FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
DETROIT — Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle was indicted today on a host of federal charges ranging from bribery to extortion, mail fraud and making false statements and court documents contend that former City Councilwoman Monica Conyers participated at every turn of the conspiracy.

Also charged was former state legislator Mary Waters, who lives with Riddle. The pair were charged with conspiracy to bribe and two counts of bribery stemming from their alleged roles in helping a Southfield pawnshop relocate and expand in that city.

Riddle alone was charged with multiple offenses in connection with the tainted 2007 Synagro sludge-treatment contract. He was charged with extortion, making false statements, mail fraud and bribery relating to Synagro.

For Full Story

Read Indictment

Read More Charges

Read Press Release

Prison Coach Says Bernie Madoff Did not Fear Prison

Just in case you were wondering whether our favorite Ponzi scammer was fearful of prison.

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A prison coach who helped Bernard Madoff get ready for his 150-year sentence says the disgraced financier was not afraid before starting his term at a federal penitentiary in North Carolina.

Herb Hoelter (HOHL’-ter) told the CBS “Early Show” that Madoff was remorseful but composed when Hoelter met him four days before sentencing.

Hoelter said Madoff would not be in danger at the Butner prison, where he was transferred this week from a federal jail in New York.

For Full Story

Obama Admin. Could End Color Themed Terrorism Advisories

It’s been the subject of jokes and fear. And frankly, no one will miss or feel less secure it if it’s gone.

color-codes

BY EILEEN SULLIVAN
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -The Obama administration has begun a review that could spell an end to the advisories, long derided by late-night TV comics and portrayed by some Democrats as a tool for Bush administration political manipulation.

It’s not likely the review will plunge an alert system into the dark altogether but, short of that, everything is on the table for consideration, according to one official familiar with the plans.

The alert system assigns five different colors to terror risk levels. Green at the bottom signals a low danger of attack and red at the top warns of a severe threat. It was put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was designed to help emergency responders get prepared.

For Full Story

Get Chris Battle’s Read on the Color Code Theme ( Security DeBrief)