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Archive for July, 2009

Families in Civil Trial Say Boston FBI Protected Mobsters/Informants Who Murdered

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger-fbi photo

This is a languishing headache that simply won’t go away for the Justice Department and the Boston FBI. In June, a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to pay $6.25 million to the widow and children of a night club owner whose slaying was linked to FBI informants/mobsters Whitey Bulger and Stephen Flemmi. Now more people want the government cash and say they were victims of these FBI informants and FBI should have done something to prevent these guys from murdering people.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON — A Justice Department lawyer argued yesterday that the common-law wife of Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi lived on “blood money” from the gangster for years and cannot blame the FBI for the murder of her daughter by longtime informants Flemmi and James “Whitey” Bulger.

“She protected, nurtured” Flemmi, Justice Department attorney Lawrence Eiser said during opening statements on the first day of trial in a federal wrongful death suit brought by Flemmi’s longtime companion, Marion Hussey, and the families of two other victims.

“She washed his clothes after he cut the teeth out of these people,” said Eiser, referring to Flemmi’s admitted practice of pulling his victims’ teeth so they could not be identified. “And she’s going to blame the FBI on this theory. . . . You can’t hold the government liable for failing to arrest people.”

But lawyers for Hussey and the families of the other victims, Debra Davis and Louis Litif, said the FBI is liable because it knew Bulger and Flemmi had committed prior murders and should have prosecuted them, but protected them because they were informants against the Mafia. The agency also thwarted efforts by other law enforcement agencies that targeted Bulger and Flemmi, attorneys said.

For Full Story

FBI Files Show Saddam Hussein Boasted About Duping World About Weapons of Mass Destruction

photo-stanford.edu
photo-stanford.edu

Saddam Hussein was the master of illusion. With all the intelligence the world had, he still was able to give everyone, including the U.S., the impression he had weapons of mass destruction.  While captive, he let down his guard while talking to FBI agent George Pero, who even gave Hussein some of his mother’s baked goods. I heard Pero speak one day and he said his mother wasn’t so happy when she heard Hussein was the recipient of those goodies.

By James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
WASHINGTON – Saddam Hussein feared Iran’s arsenal more than a U.S. attack, and even considered asking ex-President George W. Bush “to protect” Iraq from its neighbor, once secret FBI files show.

The FBI interrogations of the toppled tyrant – codename “Desert Spider” – were declassified after a Freedom of Information Act request.

The records show Saddam happily boasted of duping the world about stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. And he consistently denied cooperating with Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.

Of all his enemies, Iraq’s ex-president – who insisted he still held office during captivity – hated Iran most.

For Full Story

Read 2004 FBI File

DEA to Help Probe Michael Jackson Death

michael-jackson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The drama surrounding the death of pop star Michael Jackson escalated with news that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was getting into the act.

The Associated press reported that an unnamed law enforcement official in Washington said that the Los Angeles Police Department had asked the DEA to help look into Jackson’s doctor and the singer’s drug use.

The unnamed official said the DEA could provide additional resources and knowledge local police might not have.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Second Imprisoned Witness Who Confessed to Bribing Jefferson Testifies

alexandria-mapBrett Pfeffer, a former Jefferson aide, is the second person who has testified who has pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson and is serving time in prison. That has to be tough for the defense to explain to the jury that two people have admitted bribing the Jefferson, but that Jefferson is innocent.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Defense attorneys for former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson played a recording Wednesday from a May 2005 lunch meeting in which Brett Pfeffer, a former Jefferson aide, assured investor Lori Mody that their dealings with the Democratic congressman were perfectly legal.

At the time of the conversation, Pfeffer worked for Mody, who ran a Virginia educational foundation. It was Pfeffer who brought Jefferson and Mody together and led Mody to sink $3.5 million into a deal to buy the Nigerian distribution rights for a telecommunications technology that Jefferson was promoting.

Asked by Jefferson attorney Amy Jackson how he squared the taped comments with his testimony Tuesday that he knew from the beginning that his and Mody’s dealings with Jefferson were illegal, Pfeffer said he didn’t want to say anything that would scare Mody away from a project he assumed would make him rich.

For Full Story

255 Years and Counting

mpdbadgeBy Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com

Apparently a life sentence is not enough anymore. Bernie Madoff’s 150-year sentence earlier this week seemed unthinkable- that is until Arthur Sease IV’s came along.

The former Memphis Police Department officer was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Memphis to life in prison plus 255 years for robbing drug dealers and reselling their cocaine and marijuana between November 2003 and April 2006, according to authorities. He was found guilty in February 2009.

The trend of exorbitant sentences of late has caught the interest of more than just judges.

“The issue is not in the number of years, it’s in the message,” said Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor and chairman of Criminology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “You’ve got the public trust…I think being a police officer is different.”

Sease’s 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery and firearms offenses led to one of the most extreme sentences for civil rights and other violations that did not involve any deaths.

“We will aggressively pursue and convict those officers and agents who violate the law and the public’s trust,” said U.S. Attorney Lawrence J. Laurenzi in a prepared statement. “We have entrusted law enforcement officers with our safety and protection and we demand that they perform their duties honestly and truthfully.”

Prosecutors said that even though Sease was fired in 2005, he directed others to continue with the robberies and drug deals through 2006, according to the Associated Press.

Five other individuals — three of them former Memphis police officers — have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced in this case, though none received sentences anywhere near as harsh as Sease’s.

Trial of Heavily Armed Tax-Evading N.H. Couple Begins

Remember these two? They may be in jail right now for their previous tax evasion convictions, but the government wants them there for much longer.new-hampshire

By The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. – A retired exterminator and his dentist wife held hands and talked in court Tuesday as a prosecutor called them dangerous anti-government radicals and their lawyers said it was reasonable for them to fear for their lives.

Ed and Elaine Brown face minimum 30-year prison sentences if convicted of federal weapons and conspiracy charges stemming from a nine-month standoff with law enforcement at their Plainfield home in 2007.

Prosecutors say the mountaintop concrete castle was protected by an arsenal of homemade bombs, booby traps and semiautomatic assault-type rifles intended to kill anyone trying to arrest them.

For Full Story

Attorney General Holder Appoints New Chief Immigration Judge

By Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON— Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has tapped Arlington, Va., Immigration Judge Brian M. O’Leary to become the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) Chief Immigration Judge.justicelogo

As the new chief Immigration judge, O’Leary will guide the immigration program’s direction and define priorities for judges in immigration courts nationwide.

Judge O’Leary served as an immigration judge from May 2007 to June 2009. He also served as a temporary member of the Board of Immigration Appeals from May 2006 to May 2007 and as a deputy chief immigration judge in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge from March 2003 to May 2006.

His previous jobs have included postitions at the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) Headquarters Office of the General Counsel and U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Miami and Alexandria, Va.

ATF Agents in Texas Hunt For Guns One House at a Time to Cut off Mexican Cartels

atf photo

atf photo

Guns from America are flowing into Mexico and the ATF is trying to stop it– or at least slow down the flow. It’s an uphill battle.

By DANE SCHILLER
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — In front of a run-down shack in north Houston, federal agents step from a government sedan into 102-degree heat and face a critical question: How can the woman living here buy four high-end handguns in one day?

The house is worth $35,000. A screen dangles by a wall-unit air conditioner. Porch swing slats are smashed, the smattering of grass is flattened by cars and burned yellow by sun.

“I’ll do the talking on this one,” agent Tim Sloan, of South Carolina, told partner Brian Tumiel, of New York.

Success on the front lines of a government blitz on gunrunners supplying Mexican drug cartels with Houston weaponry hinges on logging heavy miles and knocking on countless doors. Dozens of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – sent here from around the country – are needed to follow what ATF acting director Kenneth Melson described as a “massive number of investigative leads.”

All told, Mexican officials in 2008 asked federal agents to trace the origins of more than 7,500 firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Most of them were traced back to Texas, California and Arizona.

For Full Story

Read Remarks by ATF  Acting Dir. Kenneth Melson About Southwest Border Violent Crime