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Archive for October 19th, 2010

Ex-Congressman Linked to Chandra Levy Writing a Book

Allan Lengel, editor of ticklethewire.com, covered the first two years of the Chandra Levy investigation  for the Washington Post.

Gary Condit/CBS

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In a law office in an upscale section of Los Angeles, an unfinished yet potentially explosive book manuscript by a controversial figure, former U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, sits in a safe.

“I’ve read it. I think it’s one of the most dramatic stories I’ve read,” said Condit’s attorney and spokesman, Bert Fields, whose safe holds the tantalizing manuscript — Condit’s account of his drama after being linked to intern Chandra Levy. “It’s a Shakespearean drama.”

Condit was once a politically invincible congressman from Central California, but his career imploded after he was romantically linked to the 24-year-old Levy. But Condit, 62, is returning to the limelight as jury selection gets under way this week in D.C. Superior Court for the trial of Ingmar Guandique, the illegal immigrant accused of killing Levy.

Chandra Levy

Stories mentioning Condit’s name are suddenly popping up. And on Monday, the first day of jury selection, prosecutors mentioned some names that might surface during trial — and Condit’s was one of them.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Jordanian National Gets 24 Years in Plot to Blow Up Dallas Skyscraper

dallas-map1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Jordanian national caught in an FBI sting in which he plotted to blow up a Dallas skyscraper in September 2009, was sentenced Tuesday to 24 years in prison.

Authorities charged that Hosam Maher Husein Smadi drove a truck containing a fake bomb provided by the FBI to the Fountain Place, a 60-story office building in Dallas.

He then parked the truck in a public parking garage under the building, activated the timer linked to the device, locked the truck and walked away, authorities said.

Afterwards, Smadi crossed the street and got into a car with an undercover law enforcement agent.

They then drove a safe distance away, hoping to watch the explosion. Smadi used a cell phone to remotely activate the device, authorities said.

“The court’s sentence of Mr. Smadi sends a clear message that there is a serious price to be paid by those who may be willing to carry out acts of violence in this country to further the terrorist cause. I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors responsible for this successful investigation and prosecution,” said Assistant Attorney General Kris.

Read Dallas Morning News story

Miami Fed Prosecutor Off the Hook After Arrest for Jumping in Pool With Boxers

Sean Cronin/miami-dade corrections

Sean Cronin/miami-dade corrections

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Good news for the Miami fed prosecutor who was arrested after jumping into a pool in his boxers: You’re no longer in hot water.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has decided not to formally charge Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Cronin, the Miami Herald reported.

The paper reported that Assistant State Attorney Laura Adams said Tuesday in a court filing that her office decided not to charge Cronin because of “insufficient evidence” that he “intentionally exposed his genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner.”

Cronin, 36, was arrested Sept. 26 after the parents of a young girl accused him of exposing himself as he came out of a public pool in his boxer shorts, the Herald reported.  He was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior in front of a minor younger than 16.

Cronin’s lawyer, Joel Denaro, told The Miami Herald after the arrest that the charges were “beyond absurd. He went swimming in his boxer shorts, for God’s sake. He did nothing wrong.”

The incident happened on a recent  Sunday afternoon at Finnegan’s River, a restaurant and bar on Southwest Third Avenue in Miami. The New England Patriots football game was on the big screen, and Cronin, a Boston native, was watching. At some point, the 5-foot-5, 160-pound Cronin jumped into the pool at the bar, wearing only his boxer shorts. A woman and her young daughter were at the pool.

Then, according to a police report, when Cronin “came out of the pool, his penis was exposed and appeared to be erect.”

The mother “covered her daughter’s eyes,” then alerted pool staff members, who tried to detain Cronin until police arrived, the report said.

“While trying to detain the defendant, he tried escaping through a back exit,” the report said. “At this time Officer Arzola … arrived on the scene in a marked police vehicle wearing full uniform [and] observed the defendant running out the back of the establishment … and [he] continued fleeing southbound, jumping over multiple fences.” The officer apprehended him.

Suburban D.C. Cop Sentenced in Not-So Smart Scheme to Break Into ATM Machine

pg.  countyBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

This was not the smartest of schemes.

And because of that, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte on Monday sentenced former Prince George’s County Police officer Eddie Lee Smith, Jr., 42,  of Maryland to two years and six months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $10,170.94 in restitution for damage caused to the ATM machine. Prince George’s County is a suburb of Washington.

Smith admitted in a guilty pleas that while in uniform he met with Earl Blake and told him he had a job for him, authorities said.

Smith drove Blake in his marked police cruiser to the SunTrust Bank in Temple Hills, Md., and gave him a black bag with an electric grinder/saw and other materials. He then instructed him to cut open the ATM safe, authorities said.

Read more »

Imprisoned Wife of Rep. John Conyers Wants to Withdraw Guilty Plea for Corruption

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, the corrupt wife of Rep. John Conyers, who is serving time in a West Virginia federal prison, is appealing a ruling by the sentencing judge, who refused to let her withdraw her guilty plea before sentencing, the Detroit News reports.

Her lawyer claims in papers filed with the Court of Appeals that Conyers was unable to resist pressure to plead guilty from her lawyer, the government and the news media, the News reported. She has a law degree, but was inexperienced in the criminal system the court papers said.

“That inexperience coupled with the intense public scrutiny of the matter caused her to momentarily surrender to the pressure to plead,” her lawyer Douglas R. Mullkoff wrote, according to the News. He is asking that the case be returned to the U.S. District Court for a hearing.

Conyers, a divisive figure on the city council, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. She pleaded guilty in June 2009 to taking at least $6,000 in cash bribes.

Supreme Court to Hear Case Against Ex-Atty. John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to examine an interesting issue regarding the aggressive 9/11 practices of the Bush Administration: Can a U.S. citizen who claims he was illegally detained sue former attorney general John D. Ashcroft?

The Washington Post reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Abdullah al-Kidd, a one-time University of Idaho football star who converted to Islam in college, can proceed with his suit that personally holds Ashcroft liable for his detention.

Ashcroft is claim immunity,  and the Obama administration, which is representing him, is asking that the suit be dismissed.

Al-Kidd was headed to Saudi Arabia to study when he arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003, the Post reported, adding that he was held 15 nights in three states under the federal material-witness statute. He was never charged.

Al-Kidd believes his arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims who did not have ties to terrorism.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mexican Cartels Beefing Up U.S. Presence

US Mexican borderBy William Booth and Nick Miroff
Washington Post Foreign Service

SAN DIEGO — When a major Mexican drug cartel opened a branch office here on the California side of the border, U.S. authorities tapped into their cellphones – then listened, watched and waited.

Their surveillance effort captured more than 50,000 calls over six months, conversations that reached deep into Mexico and helped build a sprawling case against 43 suspects – including Mexican police and top officials – allegedly linked to a savage trafficking ring known as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.

According to the wiretaps and confidential informants, the suspects plotted kidnappings and killings and hired American teenage girls, with nicknames like Dopey, to smuggle quarter-pound loads of methamphetamine across the border for $100 a trip. To send a message to a rival, they dumped a disemboweled dog in his mother’s front yard.

But U.S. law enforcement officials say the most worrisome thing about the Fernando Sanchez Organization was how aggressively it moved to set up operations in the United States, working out of a San Diego apartment it called “The Office.”

To read more click here.