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Archive for April, 2010

Mobster John Gotti Jr. to Make Film and Write Book About His Life With Dad

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mobster John Gotti Jr., who escaped prison after mistrials were declared in four straight trials in New York, is off to make some doe the legitimate way.

The website Deadline Hollywood reports that the Dapper Don Jr., the former chief of the Gambino crime family, wants to peddle his life story in a documentary film, a feature  film and a book.

The website said his story will be about what it was like to grow up with a famous mobster dad.

The website said Gotti is working with Triplicity Entertainment, a New York-based production company whose founders include attorney Tony D’Aiuto, one of the attorney’s who represented Gotti in his last trial.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in January that it would not go after Gotti in a fifth trial. Jurors in the previous four trials deadlocked and mistrials were declared. Gotti had been charged with racketeering and having a hand in murder.

“He’s willing to go all the way, revealing as much as possible without hurting anyone who’s still involved in the street life,” attorney D’Aiuto told Deadline Hollywood.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Homeland Chief Michael Chertoff Concerned Militias Could Copycat Terrorist Tactics

Michael Chertoff Sunday on Meet the Press

Michael Chertoff Sunday on Meet the Press

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Sunday he has concerns that local terrorist groups or militias could pick up ideas from violent groups overseas.

“I agree with Sen. Lieberman, this is not of the order of magnitude of what we see global terrorists,” Chertoff said on Meet the Press. “But look,the fact that people can get on the Internet and they can see the tactics that are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan creates a risk that those will be copycatted here.”

“In fact we’ve see that … in northern Mexico, the criminal groups which are not politically motivated have adopted beheadings and other tactics of terrorism as part of pushing their agenda against President Calderon.”

His comments came in response to a discussion about militias like the  Michigan-based Christian militia which allegedly had plans to us IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) — used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan —  to kill police officers at a funeral in Michigan.  Nine members of the group, the Hutaree, have been charged in Detroit in the plot.

Cross-Border Drug Gang Turns Into Sophisticated Paramilitary Killing Machine

The Barrio Azteca gained added notoriety when it was named as the culprit behind the recent killings of three people tied to the U.S. Consulate in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez. They’ve been going at it quite some time. With drug money behind them, the U.S. and Mexico have a very daunting task before them. Are both countries up to the task?

Barrio Azteca/doj photo

Barrio Azteca/doj photo

By William Booth
Washington Post Foreign Service

CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO — A cross-border drug gang born in the prison cells of Texas has evolved into a sophisticated paramilitary killing machine that U.S. and Mexican officials suspect is responsible for thousands of assassinations here, including the recent ambush and slaying of three people linked to the U.S. consulate.

The heavily tattooed Barrio Azteca gang members have long operated across the border in El Paso, dealing drugs and stealing cars. But in Ciudad Juarez, the organization now specializes in contract killing for the Juarez drug cartel. According to U.S. law enforcement officers, it may have been involved in as many as half of the 2,660 killings in the city in the past year.

El Paso/istock photo

El Paso/istock photo

Officials on both sides of the border have watched as the Aztecas honed their ability to locate targets, stalk them and finally strike in brazen ambushes involving multiple chase cars, coded radio communications, coordinated blocking maneuvers and disciplined firepower by masked gunmen in body armor. Afterward, the assassins vanish, back to safe houses in the Juarez barrios or across the bridge to El Paso.

To read full story click here.

FBI Looking Into Death Threats Against ESPN’s Erin Andrews

Erin Andrews/ espn photo

Erin Andrews/ espn photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is looking into death threats against ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who had previously been the target of a man who had videotaped her naked through hotel peep holes, the LA Times reported.

Andrews’ attorney, Marshall Grossman said a media outlet had received emails that included death threats, the paper reported. The paper did not specify which media outlet received the threats, but Andrews has been a contestant this season on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Grossman said the emails  make mention of Michael David Barrett, the man who was recently sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for stalking Andrews and videotaping her naked and posting the videos on the Internet.

To read full story click here.

OTHER WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST

Weekend Series on History: FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Gives JFK Honorary Badge

FBI Warns Letters to Governors Could Provoke Violence

pawlenty
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating letters sent by an anti-government group to more than 30 governors warning them to step down within three days or they’ll be removed.

The Associated Press reported that the FBI is warning local cops that the group’s action could provoke violence.

The group,the Guardians of the free Republics, wants to “restore America” by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, the group’s Web site said, according to the AP.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty didn’t seem alarmed by the letter, the AP reported.

“We get all kinds of, shall we say, ‘interesting’ mail, so it’s not out of the norm,” Pawlenty said Friday. according to the AP. “It got more attention because it went to so many governors.”

To read more click here.

The Latest Shakeups in The Justice Department Reporter Ranks

Carrie Jonnson/facebook

Carrie Johnson/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The game of musical chairs continues for reporters covering the Justice Department in Washington.

The Washington Post’s Carrie Johnson is leaving  the paper Tuesday to cover the Justice Department for National Public Radio. She says she hasn’t done radio before.

“It will be a new adventure,” she told ticklethewire.com. She replaces Ari Shapiro,  who has been assigned to  cover the White House for NPR. No replacement has been named for Johnson over at the Post.

In other changes of late, Josh Meyer, the Justice Department reporter for the Los Angeles Times, quit in January to take a job at Northwestern University. He is  co-director of  Medill School of Journalism’s education and outreach for the National Security Journalism Initiative in Washington.  The program is designed to improve education and training in national security reporting for students and professionals. Meyer has been replaced at the LA Times by Richard A. Serrano.

NeilLewis

Josh Meyer/university photo

Josh Meyer/university photo

At the New York Times, seasoned reporters Neil Lewis and David Johnston, who covered Justice Department issues, recently took buyouts. And Eric Lichtblau, who had covered Justice Department issues, now covers the lobbying, money and influence beat. Charlie Savage is now the Times’ Justice reporter.

Fed Prosecutors Plan to Go After Right-Wing Radio Host Hal Turner Third Time on Aug. 9

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the apparent spirit of never-say-die, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said Friday it plans to go after right wing-racist New Jersey radio host Hal Turner for a third time in August. The last two trials ended in a mistrial after the juries deadlocked.

“We expect to proceed on August 9th,” said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Turner is charged with threatening the lives of three Court of Appeals judges in Chicago by posting their photos on the Internet and writing that they were “worthy of death”. The judges had upheld a gun ban.

A change of venue has resulted in the trials being held in Brooklyn.

Samborn declined to say what the jury vote was in the last deadlocked trial.

Regardless, prosecutors face an uphill battle.

The central problem is that Turner had been an FBI informant. And in the second trial he testified that back in 2005 the FBI asked him to take his hateful rhetoric up a notch to help them solve a case involving the murder of a Chicago federal judge’s family members.

The FBI apparently thought the killer might be a white supremacist, Turner’s target audience. Perhaps Turner might be able to draw the person out.

So Turner said he obliged and said at the time the judge was “worthy of death”. Last summer, he posted on the Internet the photos of three Chicago federal judges who upheld a gun ban and wrote that they too were “worthy of death”.

So the bottom line is: Prosecutors will have to convince jurors that there’s a clear distinction between the threats Turner made as an informant and the subsequent threats he made when he was not.