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Archive for August, 2009

Board Finds Ex-D.C. Fed Prosecutor Was Dishonest and Broke Law

It’s nearly impossible to have a spotless record when you have so many federal prosecutors around the country. Still, it’s no excuse and instances like this certainly don’t help promote public faith in the system.

scales-of-justice1

By Mike Scarcella
The BLT: The Blog of LegalTimes

A former federal prosecutor in Washington was dishonest, interfered with the administration of justice and committed a crime when he doled out thousands of dollars in federal witness money to jailed informants and to individuals who were not in fact witnesses, according to a professional responsibility hearing committee in the District of Columbia.

The two-person Board of Professional Responsibility hearing committee, however, split on its recommended sanction against former assistant U.S. attorney G. Paul Howes, who now works in the San Diego offices of Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins.

Howes, who prosecuted complex drug gang cases in Washington during the city’s crack cocaine epidemic, was an assistant U.S. attorney between 1984 and 1995. Howes’ alleged misconduct has led to reduced prison sentences for at least nine defendants-several of whom were serving life sentences. The cases at issue were prosecuted while now Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. was U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

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Fed Law Enforcement Launches Effort to Track Dangerous “Lone Wolf”

Sure, some fringe organizations scare the public and federal law enforcement. But it’s the lone wolves– those that go off on their own — that really scare the feds. Those people are too often invisible and fly under the radar.

wolf

By Kevin Johnson
USA TODAY

Federal authorities have launched an effort to detect lone attackers who may be contemplating politically charged assaults similar to the recent murders of a Kansas abortion doctor and a Holocaust museum security guard.

The effort, known as the “Lone Wolf Initiative,” was started shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, in part because of a rising level of hate speech and surging gun sales.

“Finding those who might plan and act alone, the so-called lone offenders … will only be prevented by good intelligence, the seamless exchange of information among law enforcement at every level, and vigilant citizens reporting suspicious activity,” said Michael Heimbach, the FBI’s assistant director for counterterrorism.

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Ex-Syrian Soldier Busted in Weapons Deal With Colombian Terrorists With Help of DEA Informants

An interesting exchange: weapons for cocaine. Obviously, two valuable products.

gun

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
New York Times
NEW YORK — A former member of the Syrian military was charged in New York on Wednesday with plotting to sell high-powered weapons to Colombian terrorists in exchange for more than a ton of cocaine.

According to federal prosecutors, the man, Jamal Yousef, had plans to supply rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with an enormous cache of weapons that included 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C-4 explosives and antitank munitions.

He was unaware that the men claiming to be FARC representatives were informants for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan said in its indictment.

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You Say Tomato: The Feds Say Bribery, Misleading Labels, Inferior Quality

Good to see the feds cracking down on this type of activity. Frankly, it’s appalling that people would pass on inferior products and mislabel them.Fresh tomatoe

Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
SACRAMENTO — A former official of a major California tomato processor has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges involving bribes paid to food companies, the first charges against a senior executive of the firm at the center of a federal corruption investigation, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Jeffrey Beasley, former vice president for industrial sales at SK Foods in Monterey, will admit that he took part in plans to pay the bribes and ship tomato products with misleading content labels, inferior quality and inflated prices, the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento said.

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Justice Dept. Nazi Hunters Widen Net As Nazis Die Off

As the last of the Nazis die off, this Justice Dept. unit is widening the net and widening the mission to focus more on war crimes beyond World War II.

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

John Demjanjuk/msnbc

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Earlier this year, 400 miles from downtown Washington, a Gulfstream IV jet carrying one of the country’s most infamous accused war criminals prepared to take flight as Justice Department prosecutors watched via a live television feed.

The target of their rapt attention: onetime Nazi concentration-camp guard John Demjanjuk, 89, who had outlasted a generation of American lawyers vying to deport him from the United States for allegedly lying about his role in the Holocaust.

One attorney in the department’s elite Office of Special Investigations died of cancer, another perished in an airplane crash and others had retired from public service in the nearly three decades since the investigation began.

“Even as the plane took off, I thought, ‘Something’s going to happen,’ ” recalled OSI Director Eli Rosenbaum. “Because that was the case for so many years, where if something could go wrong, it did go wrong.”

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Ex-Gov Blago’s Attorneys Say They Need More Time to Review Secret Recordings

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier times

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier times

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One guy we just haven’t heard enough of as of late has been ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

His attorneys told U.S. District Judge James Zagel during a 10 minute hearing Wednesday in Chicago that they need more time to listen to secret recordings that are expected to be key in the upcoming trial, the Associated Press reported. The famous ex-governor did not attend.

Blago, as he’s sometimes referred to in the press, is charged with trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat and shaking down campaign donors.

A status hearing is set for next month. Trial is expected to begin next year.

N.Y. Times Reporter Spends 2 Days With FBI Counterterrorism Squad

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI’s number one focus has been terrorism. But the shift in resources has not come with sacrifice. It’s meant less time focusing on some white collar and violent crimes. And domestically, it means chasing a lot of false leads.

fbi-globe

By ERIC SCHMITT
New York Times
NORWALK, Calif. – The report last month was chilling: a 55-gallon drum of radioactive material had gone missing during shipment from North Carolina to California. Even worse, the person who signed for the cargo was not an employee of the company that ordered the load.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation here ramped up, consulting health officials, questioning radiation specialists and tracking down the trucker who dropped off the material, which could be used in a radioactive-bomb attack.

Three hours later, the shipper found the drum – still sitting on a loading dock 20 miles from its destination in the Los Angeles area – having confused it with a similar shipment sent to a different company on the same day.

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Head of Boston FBI Says Local Police Need to Upgrade Firearms in Case of Terrorist Attacks

The FBI in Boston has sounded a warning that makes sense. Let’s see if the police respond.

FBI Agent Warren Bamford

FBI Agent Warren Bamford

By Jonathan Saltzman and Maria Cramer
The Boston Globe
BOSTON — Boston is making itself vulnerable to a terrorist attack like the rampage in Mumbai last year by not adequately arming its police with the semiautomatic assault rifles widely available to officers in many of the nation’s other major cities, the top FBI agent in Boston said yesterday.

Not only could the police force not easily defend against an attack by well-armed terrorists, but the absence of weapons could actually make the city a target, said Warren T. Bamford, the special agent in charge of the local FBI field office.

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