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Archive for January 13th, 2010

No Surprise Here: Prosecutors Wave White Flag and Finally Drop Case Against John Gotti Jr.

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A new AOL news site)

In a move that came as little surprise, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday  afternoon that it won’t go for a fifth trial to try and put New York mobster John Gotti Jr. behind bars. The other four resulted in mistrials after jurors deadlocked.

“In light of the circumstances, the Government has decided not to proceed with the prosecution against John A. Gotti,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Accordingly, today we submitted a proposed Order of nolle prosequi to the Court. The Order has been approved by the presiding United States District Judge, and thus the prosecution of the case has ended. I would like to commend and thank the many dedicated law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and staff who worked vigorously on this case.”

The case became a running embarrassment for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which tried four times in five years to convict Gotti on racketeering charges. In the last trial, prosecutors beefed up the indictment by adding allegations of murder.

But in the end, following 11 days of deliberations, a federal judge declared a mistrial on Dec. 1 and Gotti, son of the late Godfather John Gotti, was a free man.  As in the other three trials, the jury was deadlocked.

After trial, Gotti, 45, expressed optimism that the feds would give up. And he was quoted in the website Gang Land News as saying that he wanted to move out of state if all went as planned.

“To be here, it’s a little awkward at times,” he said. “I’m not that far from Queens; I’m not that far from New York. You go to dinner in a restaurant with your wife, you tend to bump into old acquaintances.”

Read more »

Nigeria to Let U.S. Trained Air Marshals on Nigeria to U.S. Flights

nigeria mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The actions of the Nigerian underwear bomber who tried blowing up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas day is triggering a reaction back in the man’s homeland.

Reuters news service is reporting that a Nigerian federal minister said his government will soon allow U.S. trained air marshals aboard Nigerian flights to the U.S.

Nigeria has been under pressure to bolster its aviation security since the Christmas day event involving the accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

“The United States approached Nigeria to have their marshals assist in the training and equipping of (Nigerian) marshals,” Aviation Minister Babatunde Omotoba told reporters on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

He said an agreement on the matter will be signed with the U.S. soon.

To read more click here.

Politics and Caution Slow Appointments of U.S. Attys Around the Country

politics

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The appointments of new U.S. Attorneys around the country continues to move at a snail’s pace.

The Houston Chronicle reports that about a third of the 93 U.S. Attorney posts around the country have been filled since President Obama took office a year ago and “and no one’s even nominated for the four open positions in Texas.”

Political bickering in states over nominations and an “especially cautious presidential nominating process” have resulted in the failure to fill many spots, the Chronicle reported.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutor in 20th Hijacker Case Likely to Get Nod in N.Y. 9/11 Trial

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It appears the man who helped prosecute the so called 20th hijacker on Sept. 11 — Zacarias Moussaoui — could get another bite out of the 9/11 apple in the Big Apple.

The New York Times is reporting that assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin of the Manhattan office is likely to get the nod to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others, who are slated for trial in New York, according to former colleagues.

“Mr. Raskin, 45, is one of the last remaining members of a cadre of seasoned terrorism prosecutors in the Manhattan office, a group that for the past decade and a half has handled many of the most high-profile cases of international terrorism,” the Times reported.

To read full story click here.

DEA Hails Capture of Mexican Drug Lord Who Boiled Body Parts in Lye

mexico3By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The DEA is hailing the latest capture of a major Mexican drug lord, who was known to boil the body parts of his rivals in lye.

Mexican authorities on Tuesday captured drug lord Teodor Eduardo Garcia Simental just south of the California border, the New York Times reported.

”This is a big-time arrest,” Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington told the Times. ”We’re seeing a pattern here, a lot of high-profile captures.”

“Mr. Garcia, who went by the name ”El Teo,” did not necessarily look like someone accused of boiling his victims’ remains,” the Times reported. “The mug shot distributed by law enforcement officials showed him in a coat and tie, with chubby cheeks and a wisp of a mustache.”

On Wednesday, the DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart issued a statement on the arrest:

“Today another Mexican cartel leader was taken off the street and is no longer able to carry out his bloody turf war. This arrest is one more demonstration of the growing capacity of the Government of Mexico to bring major drug traffickers to justice.

“This was not an isolated event: it exemplifies the growing effectiveness of our information sharing with the Calderon Administration, and our continued commitment to defeat the drug traffickers who have plagued both our nations.”

The Associated Press reported that American authorities had been helping to track El Teo  for five months. He was suspected of being behind dozens of murders of Mexican police.

To read the full story click here.

U.S. Atty Office in Wash. State Drops Rape Investigation into Magician David Copperfield

David Copperfield/photo from website
David Copperfield/photo from website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years after a former Miss Washington USA claimed she was raped by magician David Copperfield, the case is vanishing, People magazine is reporting.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington state indicated in court papers, without explanation, that it had terminated the grand jury probe into the allegations of rape on Copperfield’s private island in the Bahamas,  the magazine reported.

Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told ticklethewire.com that papers were filed to indicate that the criminal probe had ended so that the lawsuit the woman filed against Copperfield could proceed.

Copperfield’s representative had claimed all along the woman, who was 21 at the time, was lying about the allegations.

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