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Archive for March, 2010

FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List Turns 60

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Mir Aimal Kasi had earned a spot on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and Brad Garrett, a mild-mannered but dogged FBI agent out of Washington, wanted him badly. Kasi, a Pakistani, had stood outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993 and methodically opened fire, shooting into car windows, killing two CIA employees and wounding three others.

Like most fugitives on the list, Kasi was no easy find. Garrett and others spent 4½ years continent-hopping, tracking endless leads before finding him in a seedy hotel in Pakistan at 4 a.m. Kasi was about to head off to prayer. He was brought back to the U.S., where he was eventually executed by lethal injection by the state of Virginia.

“It’s probably every agent’s dream to capture a top 10 most wanted fugitive,” Garrett, who retired from the FBI in 2006, told AOL News. “It wasn’t my driving force, of course, but the idea of being able to arrest a top 10 fugitive is really something. If you’re on the top 10 list, you must be a really bad person, a big deal.”

Mir Aimal Kansi/fbi photo

On March 14, the bigger-than-life list, which has included some of the most notorious criminals of our time, from assassin James Earl Ray to serial killer Ted Bundy to terrorist Osama bin Laden, turns 60.

To read more click here.

Grand Jury Subpoenas Mi. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick — Mother of Ousted Detroit Mayor

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON —  In the Motor City, Spring is near and scandal is in the air.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, 64, the  mother of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury, the Detroit Free Press reported. She said Thursday that she is not the target of the probe.

What is known is that her son, who pleaded guilty to perjury in a text message scandal, and was forced from office, is under FBI investigation.

The Free Press recently reported that a contractor who pleaded guilty to corruption charges has told the feds that he gave the mayor bribe money in 2002.

For Full Story

Yemen Arrests N.J. Man With Ties to al Qaeda

yemen-map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yemen officials have arrested an American with suspected ties to al Qaeda members, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The man was under FBI investigation in Delaware, the paper reported.

Yemen authorities said that Sharif Mobley, who was raised in New Jersey and later lived in other east coast cities,  was arrested and then killed a guard while trying to escape.

“He has blood on his hands,” Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington told the paper.

“Albasha said Mobley was arrested last week during a sweep of al-Qaeda operatives with close ties to an Alabama-born extremist based in Somalia, Abu Mansour, known as ‘the American’, and the group al-Shabaab, or ‘the Youth’,”the paper reported.

His father has denied that his son is a terrorist.

For Full Story

House Votes to Impeach New Orleans Fed Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

Judge Thomas Porteous

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It comes as no surprise that U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of New Orleans is in big big trouble.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday to impeach him, the Associated Press reported. The news service reported that lawmakers felt he avoided criminal charges only because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Senate now conducts a trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors. A two-thirds vote is required to convict.

He has been accused of “taking cash from lawyers and gifts from a bail bondsman, lying to the Senate and the FBI to win confirmation and making false statements in his personal bankruptcy proceedings to hide financial problems and gambling debts,” according to AP.

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich Wants a Delay in Chicago Trial

Ex-Gov Blago poses with Celebrity Apprentice group

Ex-Gov Blago poses with Celebrity Apprentice group

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants more time to prepare for his public corruption case that was set for June 3. His attorneys want the trial moved to November.

The Chicago Tribune reports that his attorneys said they can’t properly prepare a defense in time “without knowing whether they have to defend against charges of ‘honest services’ fraud.”

The U.S. Supreme Court could take up the matter of the honest services law by June and could strike down part or all of the law, the Tribune reported.

The lawyers also said they’ve been inundated with government materials they need to review, the paper reported. The government turned over almost 33,000 pages of evidence since February.

The seldom-quiet ex-Gov is scheduled to make his debut appearance on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday.

To read more click here.

FBI and Homeland Sec. Say Corruption of Federal Agents Along Border Rising

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s all pretty simple. The Mexican drug cartels have lots of money. And some federal law enforcement agents who patrol the Mexican border can’t resist the cash.

Representatives from the FBI and Homeland Security testified before the subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security Committee about the “rising corruption among the ranks of federal law enforcement officers who patrol the border and guard ports of entry,” the New York Times reported.

FBI agent Kevin Perkins, who helps supervise corruption investigations, testified that the problem “is significantly pervasive”, according to the Times.

To read more click here.

Lawyer in Anthrax Case: “I Never Had a Client Commit Suicide –It’s a Terrible Experience”

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before government scientist Bruce Ivins’ suicide, a grand jury was convening on the third floor of the federal courthouse, near the U.S. Capitol, looking into the 2001 anthrax murders. Things weren’t looking good for Ivins, the only suspect in the case.

It was July 2008. His attorney, Paul F. Kemp, according to court documents reviewed by AOL News, had just filed court papers to become a death-penalty-certified attorney in the case — a little-known fact. And the chief U.S. District judge in Washington, Royce C. Lamberth, had approved the request.

“I thought this was a precaution to take. My job is to anticipate anything,” Kemp said.

He said he had told Ivins the investigation could turn into a death penalty case. “At some point in the near future I felt the government was probably going to the grand jury and would issue an indictment.”

What Kemp — and the government as well — didn’t anticipate was the unthinkable. On July 27, Ivins, 62, loaded up on Tylenol with codeine in a suicide bid. Two days later, he died.

“I was disturbed over it,” Kemp said in an interview this week . “I never had a client commit suicide. It’s a terrible experience. I’m much more distraught for his family.”

With the suicide, so died the chance for the government to prove its case before a jury or for Ivins to prove his innocence. No charges were ever filed in the case, in which letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to five media outlets and two senators. Five people died and 17 others were sickened.

On Feb. 19, the Justice Department officially closed the case and issued a 92-page summary stating why Ivins not only did it, but acted alone. It concluded that his lab notes showed he “could, and did, create spores of the concentration and purity of the mailed spores.”

Kemp, a suburban Washington attorney, said he read the report, but didn’t buy into it. Not at all.

Kemp said Ivins repeatedly denied that he sent the letters or that he developed the deadly anthrax spores. And Kemp cited Ivins’ fellow scientists, who insisted he was incapable of making such a high-grade, dried anthrax with the equipment available at his workplace at the Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md.

“There’s not one shred of evidence to show he did it,” Kemp said.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., echoes some of that skepticism. Last week, he called for a congressional investigation into the anthrax probe.

“We don’t know whether the FBI’s assertions about Dr. Ivins’ activities and behavior are accurate,” Holt wrote in a letter to the chairmen of the House Committees on Homeland Security, Judiciary, Intelligence, and Oversight and Government Reform.

Government investigators disagree with the skeptics.

“Suggestions that this is an entirely circumstantial case are not accurate,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. “We are confident Dr. Ivins acted alone in carrying out this attack. There is the direct physical evidence. The murder weapon was created by Dr. Ivins and solely maintained by Dr. Ivins.

“We wish we had the opportunity to present this case and all the evidence to a jury, but we were not able to, given the circumstances.”

A Justice Department source familiar with the case insisted Ivins was “singularly capable” of producing the deadly product. The person said investigators spent an “extraordinary amount of time” researching who in the science world was capable of producing the high-grade anthrax used in the deadly letters and “Dr. Ivins came up as one of the pre-eminent anthrax researchers.”

Regardless, in his final weeks Ivins had been thinking about the prospect of facing the death penalty. News reports said that during a July 9, 2008, group therapy session, he mentioned that if he faced the death penalty he would go out with a blaze of glory and shoot some of his co-workers.

Kemp acknowledges the government contacted him in the final weeks to say they were concerned about Ivins’ state of mind and well-being.

To many in the public, Ivins’ suicide was viewed as an admission of guilt. But others — particularly some who knew him — saw a man who collapsed under the mighty weight of a government determined to indict him.

Kemp says he still thinks about the suicide and wonders if he couldn’t have conveyed the prospect of a death-penalty case to Ivins more gently. He won’t get into specifics of the conversations with Ivins, citing client-attorney privilege. But he does share this much.

“I question myself. Maybe I was too strong,” he said. “I second-guess a lot the wording I used.”

Read Story on Scientist  Steven Hatfill Breaking Silence

Clint Eastwood to Direct Movie on FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover

Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Could it be: Dirty Harry Meets J. Edgar Hoover?

The Hollywood Insider website reports that actor Clint Eastwood of “Dirty Harry” fame is planning to direct a movie based on the life of the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

The publication reported that Eastwood will work with screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

The Hollywood Insider said the film will “follow Hoover’s career, from the founding of the FBI in 1935 to his long tenure as director of the crime-fighting organization that lasted until 1972 when he died.”

The trade publication said it was unclear which studio would make the film. It said it was originally intended for Universal, but it was likely to go to Warner Bros., which has done a lot of work with Eastwood.