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Archive for February, 2010

Feds Plan to Call 3 Appeals Court Judges as Witnesses in Retrial of Right Wing Radio Personality

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The retrial next week in Brooklyn of right wing web radio talk show host Hal Turner should get interesting.

The National Journal reports that federal prosecutors plan this time to call as witnesses three Court of Appeals judges from the 7th Circuit in Chicago who were the targets of Turner’s venemous verbal attacks on the Internet. The first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

The Journal reports the three judges expected to testify include Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Bauer, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Authorities chargd Turner after he he posted Internet messages saying the judges “deserve to be killed” for upholding a Chicago handgun ban.

To read more click here.

Chicago U.S. Atty. Pat Fitzgerald to Personally Prosecute Mumbai Case

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, regarded as the gold standard for U.S. Attorneys, plans to personally prosecute two men accused of being part of the 2008 bombings in Mumbai, India that killed 170 people, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The paper reported that Fitzgerald has personally prosecuted only one case in Chicago since arriving in 2001 from New York.

Fitzgerald had prosecuted terrorism cases in New York and was named a special prosecutor in Washington in the leak case of  CIA operative Valerie Plame, which resulted in the conviction in 2007 of  Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby.

In Chicago, Fitzgerald will join assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Collins and Vicki Peters in prosecuting the Mumbai bombing defendants Tahawwur Rana and David Headley, the paper reported.

House Wants to See if There Was Any Foreign Connection to Anthrax Mailings

Rep. Holt/official photo

Rep. Holt/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI may have just officially closed the case in the anthrax murders, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Holt (D-N.J.) and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md) from pushing for more answers.

The two successfully got the House on Thursday to approve an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill that would require the Inspector General to examine the possibility of  a foreign connection to the deadly letters that were mailed in 2001 that resulted in the death of five people and the sickening of 17 others.

Last Friday, the Justice Department, FBI and Postal Inspectors announced that they were officially closing the investigation after concluding that scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the mailing of the anthrax.  Ivins committed suicide  in July 2008, about a month after the Justice Department agreed to pay a multi-million out of court settlement to scientist Steven Hatfill, who had publicly been named a “person of interest.”  Hatfill had sued the Justice Department, claiming it harmed his reputation and went on a smear campaign against him by leaking information to the press.

The FBI has expressed confidence in its findings that Ivins was the guy, and issued a 92-page report on Friday laying out its case. The report was based on roughly 3,000 pages of documents in a 8-plus year probe that led investigators to six continents.

Read more »

Two More Men Indicted in Plot to Blow Up New York Subway

iStock_000009580566XSmallBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two men who were already behind bars, were indicted Thursday in New York for being part of an al Qaeda plot to blow up the N.Y. subway, the Justice Department announced.

Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, were accused of working with Najibullah Zazi to blow up the subway during rush hour, the Justice Department said.

“The facts alleged in this indictment shed further light on the scope of this attempted attack and underscore the importance of using every tool we have available to both disrupt plots against our nation and hold suspected terrorists accountable for their actions,” said Attorney General Eric  Holder in a statement. “This attack would have been deadly, and the many agents, prosecutors and intelligence professionals who worked together seamlessly to thwart it deserve our thanks.”

Ahmedzay, 25, a resident of Queens, N.Y., was originally indicted on Jan. 8, on charges of making material false statements to the FBI about his travels to Pakistan and Afghanistan and about his conversations with a fellow traveler, the Justice Department said.

Medunjanin, 25, also a resident of Queens, was also indicted in January on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and receiving military-type training from a al Qaeda, the Justice Department said.

FBI Arrests Madoff’s Ex-Dir of Operations Daniel Bonventre

jailBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As conman Bernie Madoff serves his 150 years prison sentence, the FBI continues to chip away at the scandal that devastated many investors.

Blooomberg business news reports that the FBI on Thursday morning arrested Daniel Bonventre, the ex-director of operations for Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC, as part of the ongoing probe into the scam.

The 63-year-old is expected to make a court appearance later on Thursday, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York issued a press release Thursday morning saying he was being charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, falsifying books and records of a  broker dealer, false filings with the SEC and filing false federal tax returns.

Pres. Nominates U.S. Marshals for West Virginia and North Dakota

u.s. marshalsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Obama on Wednesday nominated  U.S. Marshals for the northern and southern districts of West Virginia and in North Dakota.

The nominees, according to the White House, include: John Foster for the Southern District of West Virginia; Paul Ward for North Dakota and Gary M. Gaskins for the Nothern District of West Virginia.

The bios of each nominee are as follows, as provided by the White House:

*John Foster is a Judicial Security Inspector with the United States Marshals Service (USMS) in the Southern District of West Virginia. Since 2007, he has overseen the protection of federal judges, U.S. attorneys, federal public defenders, and other court personnel. He joined the USMS in 1990 as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. From 1985 to 1990, Mr. Foster was a trooper with the West Virginia State Police in Summersville, WV. He is retired from the West Virginia Air National Guard, in which he served from 1980 to 2000. Mr. Foster was awarded a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree from Glenville State College in 1991. He has also earned an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from the Community College of the Air Force in 1989, and an Associate’s Degree in Political Science from Marshall University in 1986.

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Pres. Obama Nominates U.S. Attys for Calif., Tex., Guam and Fla.

Alicia Limtiaco/gov photo

Alicia Limtiaco/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Obama on Wednesday continued to nominate U.S. Attorneys, this time for California, Texas, Guam and Florida.

The nominees included Laura E. Duffy for the Southern District of California; Wifredo A. Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida; Alicia Limtiaco for Guam and John B. Stevens, Jr. for the Eastern District of Texas, according to the White House.

The following are bios as provided in a White House press release:

*Laura Duffy has been with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California since 1997, where was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Narcotics Enforcement Section until 2007 when she became the Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section. Prior to that, Ms. Duffy worked for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 1993 until 1997, first as a trial attorney for the Money Laundering Section until 1994, and then as a trial attorney for the Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section. Ms. Duffy is a graduate of Iowa State University (1988) and from the Creighton University School of Law (1993).

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Dangerous Mexican Drug Cartel Member Sentenced Behind Locked Doors in Houston

houston-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At a time when the Justice Department is talking about an open and transparent civilian trial for the 9/11 suspects, this seems all the more unusual.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the public was barred from a sentencing “behind locked doors and armed guards at the federal courthouse downtown” in Houston,  where one of Mexico’s most feared cartel members Osiel Cardenas Guillen was hit Wednesday with  25 years in federal prison. The Associated Press reported that he was also ordered to forfeit $50 million.

He was accused of drug related crimes and threatening to kill a DEA and FBI agent in Mexico 10 years ago.

The paper reported that the judge, Hilda Tagle, issued a gag order and chief defense Attorney Mike Ramsey said, “I can’t comment on anything that didn’t happen.” The Associated Press reported that the judge rejected a request by the media to open the sentencing to the public.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno declined comment as he left the courtroom, the paper reported, but said he later in a statement:

“The successful prosecution of Cardenas-Guillen underscores the joint resolve of the United States and Mexico to pursue and prosecute the leadership of the drug trafficking cartels, dismantle their organizations and end the violence and corruption they have spawned.”

To read more click here.

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