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Archive for August, 2009

Ex-U.S. Atty. Christie Failed to Report $46,000 Loan to Top Aide

When you run as a law and order guy, when the issues are public corruption in New Jersey, every little bit of news like this hurts.

Christopher Christie

Christopher Christie

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER
New York Times

In 2007, while he was New Jersey’s ranking federal prosecutor, Christopher J. Christie – now the Republican candidate for governor – lent one of his top aides $46,000. But he failed to report the loan as required under federal and state ethics rules.

The aide, Michele A. Brown, borrowed the money from Mr. Christie while he was United States attorney for New Jersey and she was his executive assistant and counsel, according to mortgage records in Morris County, N.J.

Ms. Brown was promoted to first assistant United States attorney after Mr. Christie resigned last December to begin his campaign for governor.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

N.Y. U.S. Atty. Announces Promotions: Balt. U.S. Atty. Creates Money Laundering Section

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — There’s no shortages of changes in the U.S. Attorney offices around the country these days.

In the New York Southern District, newly installed U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced on Monday the promotion of a number of prosecutors including Boyd Johnson III, who is one of the candidates the White House has  interviewed  to head the DEA, and who headed the infamous Eliot Spitzer probe.

In Baltimore, U.S. Atty. Rod J. Rosenstein, a holdover from the Bush administration, announced the creation of a three-lawyer, two paralegal, Asset Forfeture and Money Laundering Section.

“This new unit will work with federal authorities with state and local officails on a wide range of cases in wihch federal forgeiture and money laundering statutes can help punish and deter crime,” Rosenstein said in a prepared statement.

In New York, Reuters news service reported, that Boyd Johnson moves up to the number two spot in the office as deputy U.S. Attorney.  He headed the probe into the Emperors Club VIP, that resulted in four guilty pleas. Spitzer was never charged, but the scandal forced him to resign as governor.

Other promotions in the New York office, according to Reuters, include:

  • Raymond Lohier was named chief of the criminal division’s securities and commodities fraud task force.
  • Miriam Rocah becomes chief of the criminal division’s organized crime unit.
  • Daniel Stein jumps to chief of the criminal division’s public corruption unit.

(Practice) Drama Breaks Out in Washington Area for Agencies Like Secret Service, FBI and U.S. Marshals

The drama around around Washington, thanks goodness, in these instances is not real. It’s just practice for the different federal agencies. You can never be too ready. You can never practice too much.

istock photo

istock photo

By Laura Blumenfeld
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Five minutes before his job interview, John Fisher parks at Ace Fire Extinguisher Services in College Park, his window open and his stomach jumpy. He is nibbling on spoonfuls of cottage cheese when shouts erupt from the car next to his.

“Gun! He has a gun!” a man with a Secret Service earpiece yells, riffling through the glove compartment.

“It’s my brother’s gun!” a man in a black ski cap growls. “I didn’t know I had a gun!”

Fisher’s eyes pop. He slides down in his seat, cranking his window closed.

“Hands behind your back,” says the man from the Secret Service, ratcheting his handcuffs.

“Man,” says Fisher, wiping a spray of white flecks from his chin. He crosses the street to his job interview. “Did I pull up to the wrong spot.”

Unwittingly, Fisher had driven into the climactic scene in a secret world of shadow theatrics. The man in the ski cap is a stage actor; the agent with the earpiece is a Secret Service recruit.

Every day, as Washingtonians go about their overt lives, the FBI, CIA, Capitol Police, Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service stage covert dramas in and around the capital where they train.

For Full Story

Ex-DEA Official Says Agents Should be Insulted that Obama Admin. Would Consider FBI Official to Head DEA

William Coonce worked for the DEA for 29 years and was special agent in charge of the Detroit Division from 1987 to 1993. His commentary is in response to a story in ticklethewire.com, which said FBI deputy Director John Pistole, Assistant U.S. Attorney Boyd Johnson III and former U.S. Attorney Greg. A. Vega were being considered to run DEA.

William Coonce
William Coonce

By William Coonce
For ticklethewire.com

As a former DEA agent, I have been appalled that it has taken 7 months into this adminstration for Mr. Obama to finally get around to considering prospects to head the DEA. To consider an Assistant U.S. Attorney or a former U.S. Attorney  is the expected routine political pablum, but to consider a current FBI Official is an insult to every DEA agent either on duty or retired.

What expertise does an FBI bureaucrat bring to the table to run an agency that has the expertise, experience and a proven track record to conduct major international drug cases?

Mexico is currently rife with over 10,000 dead bodies at the hands of vicious drug traffickers, a situation that has overwhelming national security concerns for the United States and our citizens, particularly in our border cities.

Does our President not have any appointee that has an interest, background or desire to run this nations premier Drug Enforcement Agency other than some also-ran-hack?

How about considering an individual with experience and a national reputation as a law enforcement adminstrator. Our nation needs it in this time of need and the men and women of DEA deserve better treatment than bland blather.

Notwithstanding my thoughts above, I will paranthetically add that a former FBI Agent by the name of John (Jack)Lawn was then the best DEA adminstrator the agency ever had,  and Thomas Constantine, a Former New York State Trooper Adminstrator was the worst.

Mr. Lawn was the best because he was a down to earth citizen who cared. Mr. Constantine was the worst because he was an angry arrogant ass who looked down his nose at federal professionals of whom he was jealous.

In conclusion, I would ask the selection screening committee to think this through and bring an individual with integrity, professional standards and a personal committment to excellence to our agency.

Read Earlier Story on Selection Process

(What Do You Think? Post Comment Below)

Appeals Court Upholds Firing of Secret Service Agent for Passing Phony $20 Bills

There’s no question: you’re not suppose to pass off counterfeit money, particularly if you’re a U.S. Secret Service agent. But this case is far more complicated than that.

twenty-dollar-bill2

By David Ingram
The BLT Blog of Legal Times

A federal appeals court ruled today that the Secret Service, which investigates counterfeit currency when it’s not protecting presidents and their families, was within its discretion when it dismissed a special agent who had used phony $20 bills.

The problems for Sarah Oryszak began in late March 2006, after completing a three-month Secret Service training program in which she was at the top of her class.

Oryszak returned to her home in Gaithersburg, Md., where she cashed a check at a bank and received a $100 bill, according to court papers that describe the facts in the case, which are not in dispute. Oryszak then drove to Buffalo, N.Y., to visit her mother, and she used the $100 bill to pay for lunch on April 3. She got four $20 bills in change.

Over the next day and a half, Oryszak and her sister used the $20 bills to buy over-the-counter pain medication, fruit, gasoline, and other items at a Wal-Mart, a grocery store, and a gas station.

For Full Story

Read Court of Appeals Ruling

Fed Prosecutors Write Final Plea in Barry Bonds Perjury Case

Could this be strike three for prosecutors trying to put baseball slugger Barry Bonds behind bars for perjury? Frustrated federal prosecutors hope not.

barry-bonds

By Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors in the perjury case against former Giants star Barry Bonds have made their final written plea to a federal appeals court to allow potentially crucial evidence tying Bonds to drug tests that allegedly showed he used steroids.

In papers filed late Friday with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, prosecutors challenged a judge’s decision to bar evidence of three private drug tests in 2000 and 2001, so-called doping calendars and other records because Bonds’ trainer, who allegedly arranged the tests and kept the records, has refused to testify about them.

Unless Greg Anderson agrees to testify that the test samples came from Bonds and the records referred to him, the documents are inadmissible hearsay, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled in February. That means prosecutors can’t use them to prove Bonds lied when he testified to a federal grand jury in 2003 that he had never knowingly used steroids.

For Full Story

Read Government Appeal

Justice Dept. Vows to Continue Probing 1964 KKK Killings of Civil Rights Workers

Good to know the statute of limitations does not apply to murder. Good to know the Justice Department hasn’t given up on this case. But it better step it up if it wants to eventually file charges before everyone dies off like Bill Wayne Posey.

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Jerry Mitchell
Jackson Clarion-Ledger
JACKSON, Miss. — Billy Wayne Posey, a key suspect in the Ku Klux Klan’s killings of three civil rights workers in 1964 in Mississippi, has died, but Justice Department officials say they’re continuing their investigation of the remaining suspects.

The 73-year-old Posey died Thursday of natural causes, according to friends. That leaves four living suspects in the June 21, 1964, killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in the Justice Department’s investigation.

Posey’s funeral is set for 3 p.m. today at Stephens Chapel in Philadelphia, with burial to follow in Henry’s Chapel Cemetery.

Alvin Sykes of Kansas City, architect of the bill authorizing the Justice Department’s new cold-case unit, emerged from a recent meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying Posey was their key suspect in the federal reinvestigation into the trio’s killings.

For Full Story

Internet Radio Host Case Tests Limits of Freedom of Speech

The Internet remains the wild west. Federal law enforcement is still trying to figure out exactly where the boundaries are for freedom of speech. Over the past few years, it’s been pretty much hit and miss.

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
CHICAGO — Internet radio host Hal Turner disliked how three federal judges rejected the National Rifle Association’s attempt to overturn a pair of handgun bans.

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,” Turner wrote on his blog on June 2, according to the FBI. “Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions.”

The next day, Turner posted photographs of the appellate judges and a map showing the Chicago courthouse where they work, noting the placement of “anti-truck bomb barriers.” When an FBI agent appeared at the door of his New Jersey home, Turner said he meant no harm.

He is now behind bars awaiting trial, accused of threatening the judges and deemed by a U.S. magistrate as too dangerous to be free.

For Full Story