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Archive for April, 2010

Atty. Gen. Holder Vows Admin. Will Use Both Civilian and Military Courts to Fight Terrorism

doj photo

doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning that the administration planned to use both civilian and military commissions to fight terrorism.

In a prepared statement, he said:

“Let me be clear: this Administration will use every tool available to fight terrorism. That includes both civilian courts and military commissions. Indeed, we have already referred six cases for prosecution in commissions. We will no doubt refer other cases, as well. We have deployed the full extent of our intelligence, military and law enforcement resources to defeat terrorists, and we have achieved significant results.

“It would jeopardize those results to prohibit the use of the criminal justice system to prosecute terrorists, as some in Congress have proposed, and it would seriously weaken our national security. Instead of pursuing a narrow approach to fighting terrorism, we must be flexible, pragmatic and aggressive. And in every circumstance, we must choose the weapon that will be most effective.

“That said, I know you all have questions about the prosecution of those charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks. No final decision has been made about the forum in which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants will be tried.

“As I’ve said from the outset, this is a close call. It should be clear to everyone by now that there are many legal, national security and practical factors to be considered here. As a consequence, there are many perspectives on what the most appropriate and effective forum is. In making this decision, I can assure you that this Administration has only one paramount goal: to ensure that justice is done in this case. In the pursuit of justice, we will enforce the law and protect the American people.”

“Today, I want you all to know that I continue to value, and will work to uphold, the trust this Committee has placed in me. I also want to reassert my pledge that, so long as I have the privilege of serving as Attorney General, the Department of Justice will be an instrument of our Constitution and a servant of the American people — not of any party or political ideology.

Fed Prosecutors Say Ex-Gov Blago Hasn’t Been Shy About Publicity

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The way fed prosecutors see it, ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich can’t endlessly blab and blab on TV and then worry about being hurt by pretrial publicity.

On Tuesday, the prosecutors asked that a key document detailing evidence in their public corruption case be made public in its entirety, the Chicago Tribune reported. Blagojevich has claimed he would be hurt by the pretrial publicity.

Prosecutors say he hasn’t been publicity shy.

“Notwithstanding the recent airing of a national television show in which he repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, Rod Blagojevich now argues that he would be unfairly prejudiced by the publication of the actual evidence that will be heard at his trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner wrote in a reference to Blagojevich’s recent appearance on “Celebrity Apprentice”, the Tribune reported.

Blago has also been a fixture on talk shows and news programs. He was charged in December 2008 with a number of allegations including selling the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

And by the way, in case you didn’t follow it, he was fired form the “Celebrity Apprentice.”

To read more click here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7QCVtXvbZo

Philly Drug Kingpin Convicted of Hiring Hitman to Kill FBI Informant

gun rugerBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury in Philly convicted drug kingpin Maurice Phillips on Tuesday of hiring a hitman to kill a woman who was cooperating with the FBI in a case against him, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Phillips, 38, who ran a multimillion-dollar cocaine-distribution network stretching from Texas to New York, could get the death penalty when jurors return Monday to hear the penalty phase, the Inquirer reported. He was also convicted of drug trafficking charges.

During trial, hitman Bryant Phillips testified that Maurice Phillips, his cousin, hired him to kill the cooperating witness Chineta Glanville in 2002 because he suspected she was talking to the FBI, the Inquirer reported.

Bryant Phillips testified that he pumped two bullets into the back of Glanville’s head in her suburban home and turned to her godson who was visiting and killed him, the paper reported.

Bryant Phillips has pleaded guilty to murder charges in hopes of getting a break on his sentence, the Inquirer reported.

FBI Investigating Police Beating on University of Maryland Campus

university of maryland
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– The FBI is investigating a police beating of an unarmed University of Maryland College student at the College Park campus on March 3 following a basketball game victory over Duke, the Washington Post reported.

Embarrassing video has been airing on nationwide tv that shows three Prince George’s County police officers in riot gear beating the student. The investigation is being handled by the Baltimore FBI office.

Criminal charges of assaulting a police officer had been filed against the student John J. McKenna, 21, but the video contradicts the charges. The charge against McKenna and another student were dropped, the Post reported.

“Once the investigation is complete, the civil rights division will review the FBI’s findings and will determine whether there was a violation of federal civil rights laws,” Alejandro Miyar, a spokesman for the Justice Department, told the Post.

The Post reported that Prince George’s County Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton said he was “outraged and disappointed” and, according to the video, the student did nothing wrong to provoke a beating or be charged criminally.

To read more click here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnVYO1LHqUc

FBI Wiretapped NYT Columnist William Safire While He Worked For Govt.

William Safire/meet the press

William Safire/meet the press

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Conservative columnist William Safire was the subject of an FBI wiretap for four months while he worked for the National Security Council in 1969, according to FBI files released this month.

The FBI said the Nixon White House, concerned about leaks of classified material to reporters, asked the FBI to wiretap a number of NSC employees. The bureau did not find any dirt on Safire.

The FBI has released about 350 pages of documents on Safire from 1965 to 1994. He died in September at age 79.

The documents noted that he was a less than B student in college before dropping out and pursuing a career that included being a speech writer for President Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times.

His wiretap experience left an indelible mark.

“I have a thing about wiretapping,” Safire said on “Meet The Press” in 2006, in describing his experience and discussing wiretaps during the Bush administration, according to the Associated Press. “I didn’t like that … it told me how easy it was to just take somebody who was not really suspected of anything for any good reason and listen to every conversation in his home.”

To read Associated Press story click here.

To Read Files click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Baltimore Det. on DEA Task Force Pleads Guilty to Stealing Funds and Diamond Watch and Filing False Claim to DEA

baltimore
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A Baltimore police detective on a DEA Task Force pleaded guilty Tuesday in Baltimore federal court  to stealing Baltimore police funds, submitting a false claims to DEA for an informant and stealing a seized diamond watch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Authorities alleged that detective Mark J. Lunsford, 40,  fraudulently arranged for an informant to get more than $10,000 in payoffs he didn’t deserve, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was also charged with pocketing some of that money.

“Officer Lunsford committed an egregious breach of trust, but it should be noted that thousands of honorable police officers who work to promote public safety and confidence share our dismay when a law enforcement officer violates that trust,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein of Baltimore said in a statement.

Read more »

Fed Agents Found Crack, Gas Masks, Hitler Speeches During Raid of Christian Militia

Christian Militia Hutaree patch/from website

Christian Militia Hutaree patch/from website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents seized suspected crack cocaine and steroids, weapons, gas masks and a book of Adolph Hitler’s speeches during raids late last month of the Michigan-based Christian militia group known as the Hutaree, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that search warrant records also showed agents found hand grenade instructions and schematics and a container of potassium chlorate.

Authorities have charged that the group planned to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of sparking a revolt against the government.

To Read more click here.

Mexican Cartels Join Forces to Wipe Out Hitman Gang

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The drug war in Mexico just got more complicated.

The Associated Press reports that the Gulf and La Familia drug cartels in Mexico, which were bitter rivals, have joined forces in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas to try and eliminate a gang of hitmen known as the Zetas gang.

The effort has raised concerns of even more violence in an already very violent environment, AP reported.

The Zetas gang was once the enforcement arm of the Gulf cartel.

To read more click here.