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Archive for August, 2009

FBI Agent Charged With Negligent Homicide in Shooting Death of Puerto Rican Cop During Raid

Any time something tragic like this happens, it’s a public relations nightmare.

puerto-rico-map

By The Associated Press
Authorities charged an FBI agent with negligent homicide on Friday in the alleged “friendly fire” shooting death of a Puerto Rican policeman during a gun battle with kidnappers last year.

Justice Secretary Antonio Sagardia told reporters that special agent Jared Hewitt is accused of shooting 12-year police veteran Orlando Gonzalez Ortiz during a joint raid to rescue a kidnap victim.

Sagardia said Hewitt is no longer in Puerto Rico, but FBI commanders have assured local authorities that he will soon travel to the U.S. Caribbean territory for the prosecution.

“We are working shoulder to shoulder with the federal authorities, hand in hand,” Sagardia said in the capital, San Juan.

For Full Story

Secret Service Tipped Off Philly Police About Officer Running Criminal Check on Pres. Obama

Chief Charles Ramsey/dept. photo

Chief Charles Ramsey/dept. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Secret Service has triggered a Philadelphia Police Department probe into why one of its officers used his police car computer on Wednesday to run a criminal background check on President Obama, the Associated Press reported.

The Secret Service notified the police department after learning of the breach from the National Crime Information Center, the wire service reported.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the department is investigating the matter and the officer faces possible discipline.

Last month, two DeKalb County police officers in Georgia were accused of doing the same thing, the AP reported. They were put on paid administrative leave.

The Infamous $90,000 in the Freezer Was a Weak Link in a Strong Case Against William Jefferson

VOTERS IN LOUISIANA, ON SATURDAY, KICKED OUT OF OFFICE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR WILLIAM JEFFERSON. YOU REMEMBER THIS GUY? REMEMBER THE GUY WHO WAS INDICTED LAST YEAR FOR HAVING $90,000 IN BRIBE MONEY, IN CASH, IN HIS FREEZER. WELL, THE VOTERS KICKED HIM OUT OF OFFICE. HOW IRONIC IS THAT? THE ONLY POLITICIAN IN WASHINGTON WHO ACTUALLY SAVED SOME MONEY. HE HAD MONEY LEFT. MAKE HIM TREASURY SECRETARY. GIVE HIM – PUT ALL OUR MONEY IN THE FREEZER!

Jay Leno 12-26-08

Jay Leno

Jay Leno

****
FROM LOUISIANA, WILLIAM JEFFERSON – YOU KNOW THE GUY THAT WAS CAUGHT WITH $90,000 IN HIS FREEZER. HE’S BEEN INDICTED ON 16 CORRUPTION CHARGES. THAT’S WILLIAM JEFFERSON. DON’T CONFUSE HIM WITH HIS WIFE, WEEZIE. IS THAT – IS HIS WIFE WEEZIE?

Jay Leno  6-7-07

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Once the FBI found the $90,000 in William Jefferson’s the freezer, the jokes kept coming.

To the general public, the freezer, the $90,000, the absurdity of it all, surely told of an open and shut case. Most assumed it was the “smoking gun”.

In reality, the case was about so much more. And truth be told, even before trial, the cold cash started to look like one of the weaker links in the case.

The jury saw that. On Wednesday, it convicted ex-Rep. William Jefferson of 11 of 16 counts. But it acquitted him on five counts, including the one linked to the $90,000 – bribing a foreign official.

The marked FBI money had been given to Jefferson (actually $100,000) in July 2005 by a Virginia investor, Lori Mody. She was wearing an FBI wire. The money was supposed to be a bribe to the vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar to grease the skids for a business deal.

A few days later, FBI agents raided the vice president’s home in Potomac, Md. , hoping to find the money. That would have nailed that bribe down, completed the circle. Instead, they found the money in Jefferson’s freezer at his home on Capitol Hill – minus $10,000.

The government claimed during trial that Jefferson just didn’t have the time to pass the money on because the vice president had left the country. But they said the intent to bribe a foreign official was there, and that was good enough.

During trial, Jefferson’s attorney Robert Trout claimed Jefferson never intended to pass the money on and foolishly played along to make Mody feel good.

Sure it was stupid, Trout said. And yes, Jefferson may have swindled Mody out of some money. But he didn’t intend to bribe the vice president as charged.

Trout did a good job of raising questions during his closing argument – enough for the jury to have some reasonable doubt.

Fortunately for the prosecution, there was so much more to nail Jefferson on.  In the end, regardless of the intent, the money didn’t end up being a gift to the Nigerian vice president, but rather a gift to comics like Jay Leno.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Kenyen Brown Set to Become Alabama’s First Black U.S. Atty

alabama-map

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Congressional staffer Kenyen Brown is set to become the first black U.S. Attorney in Alabama history.

President Obama nominated Brown Thursday to the office, which covers 13 counties.

Brown currently serves as director of advice and education for the House Ethics committee.

To read more go to the Mobile Press-Register.

Other Presidential nominations announced Thursday included Neil H. MacBride for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Steven Gerard O’Donnell for U.S. Marshal in Rhode Island.

FBI Agents Raid New Orleans Police Homicide Office

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office should get credit for being this aggressive in investigating the police shootings of civilians in New Orleans.

new-orleans-police-badge

By Brendan McCarthy
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Federal agents this week raided the office of the New Orleans Police Department homicide division, seizing the files and computer hard drives of two officers assigned to investigate police conduct in one deadly post-Katrina shooting episode, law enforcement sources told The Times-Picayune.

Representatives of the FBI and NOPD confirmed the seizure late Thursday.

FBI agents served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon for files in the offices of two supervisors, Sgt. Gerard Dugue and Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, the sources said.

The two sergeants were the lead investigators who examined the shooting of civilians by police on the Danziger Bridge days after Hurricane Katrina.

Gunfire from police, who were responding to reports of shots fired at officers, left two men dead and four people wounded.

For Full Story

Prosecutor Benjamin Wagner Nominated for U.S. Atty. in Sacramento

sacramento-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Benjamin Wagner, a federal prosecutor, has been nominated to become U.S. Attorney in Sacramento, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Wagner, the chief of special prosecutions in the Sacramento U.S. Attorney’s Office, was nominated by President Obama Thursday.

The Bee reported that Wagner as recommended by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Jury that Convicted Jefferson Says He Should Forfeit $470,000

William Jefferson was already in financial straights before this. He bounced plenty checks and ran up credit cards. Now he and his family face some tough times ahead with the jury’s latest finding.

money-photo

By Bruce Alpert and Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune

William Jefferson, the former Democratic congressman convicted of 11 of 16 counts of corruption, can be held liable to forfeit more than $470,000 in bribe money paid to sham companies under his family’s control, a jury ruled Thursday, one day after convicting him.

The jury also found that ANJ Group, one of those front companies controlled by Jefferson’s wife, Andrea, and their five daughters, could be required to surrender millions of shares of stock in a Kentucky technology company and a Nigerian telecommunications venture that were at the center of the FBI investigation into Jefferson and are now presumably worthless.

The jury’s forfeiture verdict establishes which assets controlled by the defendant amount to ill-gotten gains, and sets an upper limit on how much the government may demand that he forfeit.

The precise determination of how much Jefferson owes and how it would exacted is left to the judge, T.S. Ellis III, who could make a determination any time up to and including at Jefferson’s sentencing, which is set for Oct. 30.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Head of FBI in Mobile, Ala. Is Stepping Down Under a Cloud

FBI Agent Debra Mack
FBI Agent Debra Mack

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Debra Mack, the first African American female  to head the FBI Mobile, Ala., office, is stepping down under a cloud of controversy.

WKRG tv reports that  Mack had been the subject of a two-year internal investigation involving a high ranking local politician.

A source tells ticklethewire.com that FBI agents in the Mobile division were unhappy with her leadership and management style  for a long time. In recent times, the FBI conducted a surprise inspection of the bureau and agents complained to inspectors about Mack.

Eventually, the tv station reports that Mack, a 26-year veteran of the FBI, was offered a choice: Become an FBI agent in Birmingham, which would have been a big demotion, or retire.

Angela Tobon, a spokeswoman for the FBI Mobile office, said Mack announced to staff earlier this week that she was retiring at the end of the month. She had headed up the FBI office since February 2005.

“She just said it was time to retire,” Tobon said. She declined to comment on reports of an internal probe or the FBI inspection.

For the past 60 days, Mack has been working in Washington as a deputy assistant director in the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence, Tobon said.

She said Mack will go on vacation and contemplate her future.