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Archive for November, 2009

FBI Seeks Help in Locating Relatives of Civil Rights Era Murder Victims

FBI photo/ courtesy of Keith Beauchamp

FBI photo/ courtesy of Keith Beauchamp

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Many decades later, the FBI still won’t let go of the dozens of unsolved racially motivated Civil Rights Era murders.

On Wednesday, at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., the FBI’s Civil Unit Chief Cynthia Deitle announced that the agency was looking for help locating next of kin in 33 cold case murders to let families know what happened to their loved ones and to possibly get more investigative leads.

Deitle’s latest effort was part of the FBI’s initiative publicly launched in 2007 to try and solve more than 100  Civil Rights era murders in the 1950s and 1960s. She spoke at an airing on campus of a documentary film by  Keith Beauchamp on a botched prosecution of a 1964 murder.

Agent Cynthia Deitle/fbi photo

Agent Cynthia Deitle/fbi photo

Later that day,  the FBI released a statement by her in which she said:

“Our agents have worked tirelessly, reaching out to victims’ families and interviewing witnesses, along with police officers, prosecutors and judges.”

“We’ve also received tips and other help from the public, the media, academia, and our partners at organizations like the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Urban League,” she said.

The FBI said of the  108 cold cases it is looking at, three have been referred for state prosecution. Others have gone unsolved  for the following reasons:

  • The suspects are deceased (47 percent of the cases)
  • Individuals who were tried in the state court  can’t be prosecuted again in federal court because of double jeapordy,
  • Witnesses died and evidence was destroyed.

Read a list of cold cases

Ex-Rep William Jefferson Gets Big Break: Judge Allows Him to Remain Free Pending Appeal

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ever since FBI agents raided his homes in Washington and New Orleans in 2005, little has gone his way. But Wednesday was different for ex-Rep. William Jefferson, who faces a 13 year prison sentence.

In an unexpected move, and against the advice of the prosecution, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Va. ruled that Jefferson, 62, could stay out of prison pending the outcome of an appeal, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was convicted in August of 11 public corruption counts.

The ruling means Jefferson, who lost a bid for a 10th term in Congress last year, could remain free for at least another year. In court papers filed last week, his attorney had acknowledged the possibility that Jefferson might soon have to report to prison shortly after sentencing, and asked that the judge at least let him spend Christmas with the family.

Read more »

Atty. Herbert Miller Who Helped Convict Hoffa and Brokered Nixon Pardon Dies at Age 85

Miller Helped Convict James Hoffa
Miller Helped Convict James Hoffa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Herbert J. “Jack” Miller Jr. lead the Justice Department’s  war on organized crime in the 1960s under Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy,  and helped convict legendary Teamster James Hoffa ,  according to the Washington Post.

On the flip side, as a top notch D.C. defense attorney, he brokered President Richard Nixon’s pardon and represented politico types on both sides of the isle. The Post reports that Miller died in Rockville, Md., on Nov. 14 at age 85 of renal failure after being treated for influenza.

Reporter Matt Schudel put together a nice obituary on a man who accomplished so much. To read click here.

Las Vegas FBI Head Steve Martinez Packing Bags to Head LA Office

FBI agent Steve Martinez is packing his bags after heading the FBI’s Las Vegas office to take on a bigger job: Heading the Los Angeles Office. Bigger job, bigger headaches. But he’s up for it.

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

Steven Martinez/fbi photo

By Richard A. Serrano
Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS — One of Steve Martinez’s first experiences as the head of the FBI office in Las Vegas played out at a carwash.

Killing time, he watched a woman who had just won a jackpot at the poker game inside the lobby. Next he saw her step into the ladies room. When she came out, a man lunged forward, pushed her back in and locked the door.

Martinez drew his firearm. He could hear the woman screaming. He pounded on the door. He yelled “FBI!” He yelled “Police!” He tried everything his training from years ago had taught him. “It was,” he said, “a real-world experience for me.”

Next month Martinez takes his weapon and his badge — and a wealth of experience — to Los Angeles, where he will run one of the largest and most prestigious FBI field offices in the nation.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sen. Republicans Grill Atty. Gen. Holder Who Defends Decision to Have Trial in NY

The Justice Department isn’t going to change its mind about holding a 9/11 terrorism trial in New York. So the best Republicans can do at this point is try to beat up on people like Attorney General Eric Holder.

Sen. Lindsey Graham critical of move

Sen. Lindsey Graham critical of move

By Jake Sherman
Politico
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he expects to direct prosecutors to seek “ultimate and most uncommon penalty” for self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

But his tough words have been met with a vehement response from committee Republicans, who warn that his decision to try Mohammed in New York is a fundamental mistake, legally dubious and dangerous to the city.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had been asked by the White House to not speak about the decision to try Mohammed in federal court, broke his silence Tuesday, telling Holder his decision is “a perversion of the justice system.”
For Full Story

Eric Holder Jr. /file photo

Some Counterterrorism Vets Defend 9/11 Trial in New York City

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A New AOL News Site)

WASHINGTON — Clearly, Rudy Giuliani thinks otherwise. But some counterterrorism agents are coming to the defense of the Obama administration’s move to prosecute alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accomplices in federal court in lower Manhattan.

They say that although the trial will create risks, safety concerns won’t go much beyond business-as-usual for officials in New York, who thanks to past experience and months of planning are up to the task.

“New York is uniquely qualified to handle something like this,” said Todd Letcher, a 22-year FBI veteran who before retiring was special agent in charge of the Special Operations Division for the bureau’s New York office. “They’ve done terrorism trials before. Intelligence threat and analysis is being done on a daily basis. It’s not something that rises above the capabilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.”

For Full Story

Sen. Judiciary Committee Expected to Grill Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

grillBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Summer is long gone, but get ready for some serious grilling — Washington style.

Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled Wednesday morning to go before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the “Oversight of the Department of Justice” and get grilled on such subjects as Fort Hood and the decision to put 9/11 terrorist suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others on trial in New York.

He’s expected to face some of his toughest critics, who happen to sit on the committee.

FBI-IRS Look into Loan to Ousted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The fishy goings on involving ousted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick continues to surface.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the FBI and IRS in August contacted the chairman of Detroit-based Compuware in August to inquire about a $240,000 loan he and other businessmen made to Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick was forced to resign, serve jail time and pay $1 million in restitution to the city after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to lying under oath in court.

The information about the FBI-IRS probe surfaced during a court hearing Tuesday on Kilpatrick’s ability to pay restitution to the city. He has been ordered to pay $6,000 a month, but he has claimed he can’t afford it.

“Someone is paying for his restitution, and he is claiming to this court that he has the inability to pay when he in fact is not paying for it himself,” said Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Athina Siringas, according to the Detroit News. “Money just keeps on appearing and people just keep on giving.”

Read Detroit Free Press Story

Read Detroit News Story