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Archive for March, 2011

Highest Ranking NY Cop on FBI’s JTTF Almost Transferred for Refusing to Share Classified Info With his Superiors at NYPD


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The top New York cop on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force almost got transferred from the unit after he refused to share classified info with his superiors in the police department, the New York Daily News reported.

But the FBI intervened and prevented the transfer of NYPD Deputy Chief James Shea, the Daily News reported.

The paper reported that Shea got in a jam after he backed a detective on the JTTF, who refused to share the info. The info is legally only supposed to be shared with people who have a security clearance.

The Daily News reported that Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne denied that Shea was supposed to be transferred. The FBI declined comment.

It’s Game Time for Barry Bonds; Fed Trial in San Francisco Begins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s game time for the baseball legend Barry Bonds.

Jury selection begins Monday in federal court in San Francisco for the home run slugger who is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying when he said he didn’t take steroids.

Bonds, 46, is not likely to face prison time even if convicted, according to the web site California Watch. The site reported that two defendants convicted of lying about steroids were sentenced to home confinement by Bond’s current judge, Susan Illston.

Ex-Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent says an acquittal would greatly enhance Bond’s chances of making it into the Hall of Fame, according to California Watch.  A conviction would set him back in his bid at least 30 years, Vincent said.

Man Convicted of Producing $7 Million in Counterfeit Liberty Head Dollars


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The buck apparently stopped with 67-year-old Bernard von NotHaus.

Von NotHaus, who was part of an anti-government movement, was convicted last week in federal court in North Carolina of minting roughly $7 million in Liberty Dollar coins, authorities said.

Authorities said investigators found that he had been making and disseminating the coins since 1998.

Von NotHaus was founder of an organization called the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code, commonly known as NORFED and also known as Liberty Services.

Authorities said Von NotHaus designed the Liberty Dollar currency that were marked with the dollar sign ($); the words dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of In God We Trust); and other features associated with legitimate coins.

In 2006, the Department of Justice and U.S. Mint issued a press release saying the Liberty Dollar was “not legal tender.

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in a statement following last week’s verdict.

“While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

Ill. Man Says FBI Tried Getting Him to Go Undercover in Mosque to Get Off No-Fly List


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 31-year-old Illinois man claims the FBI said it could remove him from the no-fly list if he agreed to go undercover at mosques, the Associated Press reported. He refused the offer.

AP reported that Abe Mashal, a dog trainer from St. Charles, Ill., says the bureau said he landed on the list because he exchanged emails with a Muslim cleric who the FBI was watching.

AP reported that he sent an email to cleric asking about raising children in an interfaith family. He is Muslim, his wife is Christian.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security declined comment, AP reported.

Mashal, who discovered he was on the list last April, says he is an honorably discharged Marine, AP reported.  He is one of 17 plaintiffs in an ACLU-filed lawsuit over the list.

Mashal told AP he felt like he was being blackmailed by the FBI when the agency tried to get im to go undercover.

“I feel like I’m living in communist Russia, not the United States of America, for someone to jump into my life like that,” he said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey Works to Water Down Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, Daily Kos Reports

Ex-Atty. Gen. Mukasey/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Daily Kos website writes that ex-Attorney Gen. Michael Mukasey “has a new gig in which to ply his talents: making it easier for corporations to bribe foreign governments.”

The site writes that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) was designed to prevent U.S.-based multinational corporations from bribing foreign governments. The Obama administration seems to be stepping up efforts in this area.

The Daily Kos reports that Mukasey, who is a partner in the firm Debevoise & Plimpton, has filed lobbying papers and is working on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to water down the  Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“The Chamber has become increasingly critical of the FCPA in recent months,” the Daily Kos wrote. “It argues that the law, which allows the U.S. government to seek charges against corporations and individuals for bribes paid to local officials in other countries, is not working well and could be making U.S. companies less competitive.”

“The expansion in prosecutions and investigations of course has brought a great deal of anxiety to companies in the United States,” Mukasey said at the Chamber’s annual legal summit, according to video of the panel, the Daily Kos reported.

To read more click here.

OTHER WEEKEND STORIES OF INTEREST

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Attempted Assassinations of Gerald Ford

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da668XwQLuY

Justice Dept. Mulls Over Asking Supreme Court to Consider Case Involving GPS Device

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyers over at the Justice Department are trying to figure out whether they should ask the Supreme Court to consider a case with far reaching implications involving the use of a GPS to track a criminal, the Blog of Legal Times reports.

The case centers around former D.C. night club owner Antoine Jones, who was convicted of drug trafficking. Last August, the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the conviction and life sentence, ruling that federal investigators violated his Fourth Amendment rights by not getting a warrant before they placed a GPS on his car. He remains in custody pending a new trial.

The deadline to file a petition before the court is April 15, the blog reported.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutors Say Sentence for ex-ICE Official Could Set Record

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are hoping on Monday to land the toughest sentence in the history of federal corruption cases when former ICE official Constantine Peter Kallas appears in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The former Assistant Chief Counsel at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found guilty of three dozen corruption offenses nearly one year ago for  taking a series of bribes from immigrants seeking documentation to remain in the U.S..

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said: Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 353 months – nearly 30 years. If the judge adopts this recommendation, we believe this would be the longest sentenced ever issued in a federal corruption case. (However, in the interest of full disclosure, the judge at a prior hearing indicated he was considering a sentence of approximately 20 years, which would still make it one of the longest public corruption sentences ever issued.)”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.