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Archive for January, 2010

Latest on the Shooting in Las Vegas Fed Court Where Court Officer Died and Dep. Marshal Wounded

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmy1DvmeLrY

Ex-Army Ranger Pleads to Hiring Undercover FBI Agent to Kill Seattle Fed Prosecutor Who Sent Him to Prison

seattleBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fair to say that former Army Ranger Luke Sommer has some issues.

Sommer,  who is serving a 24 year sentence for masterminding a 2006 bank robbery in Washington state, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle  to trying to hire an undercover FBI agent to kill a Seattle assistant U.S. Attorney who helped send him to prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He also pleaded guilty to attacking his co-defendant in prison with a knife.

The U.S. Attorney Office said, according to a press release, that” on two occasions in March 2009, SOMMER offered an undercover FBI task force officer as much as $20,000 for murdering an Assistant United States Attorney. Law enforcement was alerted to SOMMER’s interest in hiring a hit man in January 2009, barely a month after SOMMER was sentenced. SOMMER moved forward with the plot in March 2009, when he tried to hire the undercover officer telling him he wanted news reports of the hit to reflect that it was ‘murder not an accident.'”

Under a plea agreement, the 22-year-old will get an additional 20 years — certainly enough time to work on some of his issues.

“Any attempt to harm those working in law enforcement, is an attack on the justice system — a pillar of our democracy,” Seattle  U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a statement. “We take all threats and violence against law enforcement and court staff very seriously, and will fully prosecute those responsible. As we have in this case, we will seek significant punishment.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Two Get Prison Time for Breaking Into Calif. FBI Agent’s Garage

yorba linda mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Burglary isn’t the wisest career path. But burglarizing an FBI agent’s home — well, that’s just downright dumb.

Jeffrey Michael Drach, 20, and Justin Wesley Case, 21, were each sentenced Monday to two years in prison for the November burglary of the agent’s Yorba Linda, Calif. garage, the Orange County Register reported.

The agent, only identified by the District Attorney’s Office as  “James M.”,  caught the men inside the Orange County garage around 2 a.m., identified himself as law enforcement and ordered them to stop, the paper reported.

As they fled in a pickup, the agent fired shots, but no one was injured, the paper said. Authorities found the pickup two miles away. Two other suspects tied to the case are under investigation.

For Full Story

NBA Star Gilbert Arenas Meets With D.C. U.S. Atty; Says Gun Incident was Misguided Joke

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards basketball star Gilbert Arenas voluntarily met Monday afternoon with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington and D.C. police to “explain the circumstances surrounding the presence of his unloaded firearms at the Verizon Center last month,” his attorney said in a statement.

Also on Monday, Areanas issued a statement through his attorney Kenneth L.  Wainstein, a former U.S. Attorney for D.C.:

“On Monday, December 21st, I took the unloaded guns out in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate. Contrary to some press accounts, I never threatened or assaulted anyone with the guns and never pointed them at anyone.”

Read more »

It’s a Baby Boy for Chicago’s Top Fed Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald/ticklethewire.com photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the better known federal prosecutors in the nation,  has traditionally  grabbed headlines for going after bad guys.

But this time, the 49-year-old is grabbing headlines for something far more personal: His wife Jennifer Letzkus, a Chicago teacher, gave birth to a baby boy Conor Patrick Fitzgerald on Dec. 21, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Everyone is happy and healthy,” spokesman Randall Samborn told the Trib.  The couple was married in 2008.

UPDATE: Court Security Officer Dead and Dep. Marshal Wounded in Shootout in Las Vegas Fed Court; Gunman Dead

las-vegas-map
UPDATE (6:35 EST); The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that the gun man, Johnny Lee Wicks, was upset about losing a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration. The paper reported that he walked into the courthouse, pulled a shotgun out from underneath his jacket and opened fire. To read more details click here.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 65-year-old federal court security officer died and a deputy U.S. Marshal was in stable condition after a shootout with a gun man in the lobby of the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Authorities say the gun man died in the shoot out that occurred around 8 a.m., the Sun reported. The Sun, attributing information to the U.S. Marshals Service, said authorities had yet to determine the motive for the shooting.

To read more click here.

Read Statement from Dir. of the U.S. Marshal Service

Threats Against Fed Judges and Fed Prosecutors Spike in Past 6 years

judge and gavelBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Threats and “inappropriate communications” aimed at fed judges and fed prosecutors  have spiked in the past six years, according to a review by the Justice Department Inspector Gen. Glenn Fine.

The review found that such incidents jumped from 592 in fiscal 2003 to 1,278 in fiscal 2008,  and some aren’t “consistently and promptly reported” by judges and prosecutors.

The review also concluded that the U.S. Marshals Service “does not consistently provide an appropriate response for the risk level posed by the threat.  In addition, the (Marshals Service) does not fully or effectively coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to respond to threats against federal judicial officials.”

Read Report

Editorial: New Orleans Times-Picayune Urges White House to Stop Dragging Feet and Nominate Current U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

New Orleans Times-Picayune
Editorial Page

NEW ORLEANS — Few public officials in metro New Orleans enjoy the popularity and respect of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Under his watch, the U.S. attorney’s office has maintained an aggressive and important campaign against public corruption across our region and assisted local governments in fighting violent crime, earning Mr. Letten bipartisan praise.

A University of New Orleans poll last spring pegged Mr. Letten’s approval ratings at 60 percent in mostly Democratic New Orleans and 66 percent in Republican-leaning Jefferson Parish.

Not surprisingly, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu last year recommended that President Obama reappoint Mr. Letten, a Republican and career prosecutor who was first nominated by President George W. Bush. But eight months have passed, and the Obama White House has yet to send Mr. Letten’s nomination to the U.S. Senate.

To read more click here.