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April 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for April, 2010

Jurors in Ex-Cong. William Jefferson Said Mundane Documents — Not $90,000 in FBI Money or FBI Tapes — Convinced Them to Convict

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News
Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing last November /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel

Rep.William Jefferson was hardly a household name — that is until FBI agents found $90,000 in his freezer at his Capitol Hill home on Aug. 3, 2005.

In the public’s eye, that seemed to be the center piece of the government’s case against Jefferson.

But  jurors who convicted the ex-Congressman of 11 of 16 public corruption charges last August have broken their silence and told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that it was the mundane documents that convinced them of his guilt, not the cash or photos or FBI secret recordings.

The Times-Picayune, in a story published Sunday by reporter Bruce Alpert, wrote that “particularly compelling, the jurors said, were letters and contracts outlining the payments that businesses were to pay to companies controlled by Jefferson’s family in return for the congressman’s assistance in brokering deals in West Africa.”

Read more »

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano Reportedly on Supreme Court List

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON —  Janet Napolitano, who has served as Secretary of Homeland Security since January 2009, is reported to be among the top candidates to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Napolitano has a pretty deep resume. She served as Governor of Arizona, Attorney General of the state and as U.S. Attorney for Phoenix under the Clinton Administration.

Other top choices reportedly being considered include Elena Kagan, 49, the U.S. Solicitor General, the fourth highest ranking post at the Justice Department,  Diane Pamela Wood, 59, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Chicago and Merrick B. Garland, 57, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in D.C.

Other longer shots include Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

New D.C. U.S. Atty. Ron Machen Speaks Out About Mass Shooting in D.C. Where 4 Died and 5 Were Wounded

FBI Tapes, 3 Aging Chicago Mobsters and a Plan to Rob

mafia33By Allan Lengel

The arrest of three Chicago area mobsters on Thursday — all senior citizens — had the makings of a movie, from the FBI surveillance and listening devices to the plan to knock off an armored car and rob the home of the late mob boss Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that authorities arrested Jerry “The Monk” Scalise, 73, Art Rachel, 71 and Robert Pullia, 69, all of the Chicago area. Scalise and Rachel were both convicted in the infamous 1980 heist in London in which the men made off with jewelry including a famous Marlborough Diamond. They appeared in federal court Friday afternoon and were detained, the paper reported.

The Sun-Times reported that the feds charged all three men with planning to rob an armored car that was going to pick up money at a bank in LaGrange, a Chicago suburb.

The paper reported that the FBI had been surveilling the crew since December and learned that they also planned to rob the home of feared mobster boss LaPietra, who died in 1999.

“All my client has told me so far is this is nonsense,” Terry Gillespie, who represents Scalise said, according to the Sun-Times.

The paper reported that the FBI secretly recorded Scalise’s conversations via listening devices in his van. In one instance, the FBI recorded him talking  about killing a cooperating witness in a mob trial..

“We got to spare some time [and] a bullet for that f—— piece of s—,” Scalise is quoted as saying about the unnamed witness, according to the Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times reported that  director Michael Mann hired Scalise as a consultant for the Johnny Depp film, “Public Enemies”.

To read more click here.

Three Front Runners For Supreme Court Spot Have Had or Do Have Ties to Justice Dept; 2 Are Jewish

Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON –– Three of the leading candidates reportedly being considered to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens all have had or do have ties to the Justice Department and two are Jewish, according to media reports.

Elena Kagan, 49, the U.S. Solicitor General, the fourth highest ranking post at the Justice Department, is Jewish and Diane Pamela Wood, 59,  a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Chicago, is Jewish, AP reported. Wood worked for the Justice Department in different posts including  deputy assistant attorney general for international, appellate and policy matters for the Antitrust Division.

Judge Diane Wood

Judge Diane Wood

The third candidate Merrick B. Garland, 57, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in D.C.,  worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney General  and went into private practice before returning to the government as an assistant U.S. Attorney in D.C.  He later went on to work as a deputy assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s criminal division and was then principal associate deputy U.S. attorney general before going on the bench.

jennifer granholm

Other candidates mentioned include Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit in the 1990s.

Another person mentioned is Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick,  who was an assistant Attorney General for civil rights under the Clinton administration, according to AP.

Currently, two Justices on the Supreme Court — Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — are Jewish

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Jimmy Hoffa Disappearance

Ex-ATF Agent Charged in Tulsa With Drug Trafficking

By Allan Lengel

An ex-ATF agent in Tulsa, Ok., has been charged with drug trafficking and has been implicated in a  fabricated drug buy in 2007 that sent a father and daughter to federal prison,  the Tulsa Daily World reported.

The paper reported ex-ATF agent Brandon J. McFadden, 33, who left the agency last year, has been charged in federal court with  drug conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and aiding and abetting money laundering.

McFadden joined the ATF in 2002 after working as a cop in Lubbock, Tex.

To read more details click here.

Column: Qatar Should Pay For Goofy Antics of Its Diplomat Aboard United Flight

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — It’s really not enough that the goofy Qatari diplomat who caused a scare aboard a United Flight from D.C. to Denver Wednesday will voluntarily leave the country.

The country of Qatar, at minimum, should pay for the two F-16 fighter jets that were scrambled in response to the man’s stupidity and the cost of investigators who had to deal this nonsense.

Apparently, the diplomat Mohammed al-Madadi, who has immunity from prosecution,  was going to visit a jailed al Qaeda agent in prison in Denver, and while on board the United flight, decided to light up a cigarette in the bathroom. When confronted, he apparently made a joke about trying to light his shoe on fire.

Now, if the guy had been in 5th grade, perhaps the response might have been understandable. One thing is for sure: Qatar needs to raise the bar a little and send diplomats to the U.S. who exhibit the maturity of someone beyond elementary school.

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