Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

April 2011
S M T W T F S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for April, 2011

Lindsay Lohan to Join Cast in Gotti Movie

Lindsay Lohan/wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Actress Lindsay Lohan, who has garnered her share of media attention for her off-screen antics, becomes the latest big name to join the cast in the movie biopic on the Gotti family, the Associated Press reports.

AP reports that Lohan will play the wife of mobster John Gotti Jr. in the film “Gotti: Three Generations.” John Travolta will play John Gotti Sr. and Joe Pesci will play a Gotti deputy.

Lohan told AP she was honored to join the cast.

“I’m really excited to be back on set and clear up all the misinterpretations about me and show this is what I love to do,” Lohan told AP.

Portland Mayor Wants Cops to Rejoin FBI’s JTTF — Sort Of

U.S. Atty. Dwight Holton finds plan "unworkable"/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The mayor of Portland, Ore., wants his police officers to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — sort of. He’s offering up conditions  some like. Others see them as being far too restrictive.

As you recall, the city pulled its cops out of the JTTF in 2005, citing concerns about spying on citizens and violating their rights, and breaking state and local laws. The then-mayor and police chief also were bothered that they hadn’t gotten security clearance and access to classified information.

But last November, after an FBI sting turned up a man who was plotting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, some thought it was time to reconsider rejoining. Not all agreed. Some officials still protested.

So this week, Portland Mayor Sam Adams offered up a compromise. He wants to rejoin the JTTF with the condition that cops not get involved in the initial phase or assessment of the investigations unless there’s an imminent threat, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

Under the proposal, officers would get involved in full investigations once a credible threat is established, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregonian reported that U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton considers such a plan “unworkable.”

The Oregonian reported that Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard said he discussed the issue with the mayor a few weeks ago and wanted restrictions on what Portland cops would do on the JTTF squad.

“I did not want our police officers involved in sifting through what is or is not a threat,” Leonard said.

Mobster Who Put Hit Out for Late Crime Boss John Gotti Gets 13 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Watts, a close associate of the late Gambino Crime family boss John J. Gotti, becomes the latest mobster to get a stiff prison sentence.

Watts,69, was sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan federal court by Judge Colleen McMahon to 13 years in prison for participating in “murder and assault conspiracies in order to maintain and increase his influence in the Gambino Family.” He was also ordered to forfeit $250,000.

He pleaded guilty in January after being charged with setting up the murder of a man the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti suspected of snitching.

“Today’s sentence should serve as a sober reminder that if you kill or harm an actual or potential government witness, no matter how powerful you may think you are, we will find you and send you to prison for a very long time,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.”

Authorities say Watts was close to the older Gotti, but never became a “made man”  because he was not Italian. He was, however,  made a Gambino family captain.

Authorities said that in 1989,  Frederick Weiss was a defendant in a case in federal court in Manhattan.

The Gambino crime family boss at the time, John J. Gotti,  suspected that Weiss was cooperating with the government because he got rid of  a lawyer who regularly represented Gambino Family members and associates. Gotti ordered Weiss killed.

Authorities said Watts put together a murder team to carry out the hit.

In September 1989, Watts and others went to  a house on Staten Island where they thought Weiss would be. Authorities said Watts assigned different Gambino members and associates to different tasks, including digging the grave  for Weiss’s body.

Watts  stood in the garage, holding a gun, waiting to shoot Weiss when he arrived. But Weiss never showed up.

So the next day, a different team of shooters killed Weiss outside his apartment building, authorities said.

Authorities said Watts also roughed up someone who refused to give back some investment money.

That all began while Watts was serving a prison sentence in connection with his 2001 conviction for money laundering. In prison, he met a fellow inmate who he admired for his stockpicking.

After the stockpicker got released from prison, Watts sent an emissary to deliver approximately $350,000 to $400,000 in cash to the man to invest, authorities said.

The investment failed.  In 2002,  Watts demanded his money back. The man returned some, but not all.

Watts started threatening the man.  On one occasion, Watts and another individual confronted the man in Manhattan and physically assaulted him, authorities said. On a  subsequent occasion, Watts threatened the man and physically shoved him against the wall.

Rep. Conyer’s Wife Can’t Serve Remaining Prison Term at Home, Judge Rules

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Monica Conyers, the divisive ex-Detroit City Council member, and the wife of Rep. John Conyers, isn’t coming home any time soon.

The Detroit News reports that U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn of Detroit denied her request to serve the remainder of her 37-month prison sentence at home. She pleaded guilty in June 2009 to taking at least $6,000 in bribes for her vote on a city sludge hauling contract.

Cohn, who sentenced her last year, wrote in a court order filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit that he lacked jurisdiction to modify her sentence or credit her with time spent free on bond, the Detroit News reported.

“As to defendant’s argument that the Court misapplied the sentencing guidelines, her pending appeal has divested the court of jurisdiction to reconsider its judgment,” Cohn wrote, according to the News.

Judge Avern Cohn/wsu photo

The News reported that the 46-year-old, who is in a West Virginia federal prison, argued that Cohn “failed to consider her age, education, work skills, employment record, family ties and ‘likihood (sic)’she would commit another crime. Plus, her son’s baby sitter is returning to school soon.”

Judge Chastises FBI for Listening to Too Much, But Won’t Ban All Recordings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge on Wednesday chastised the FBI for listening to wiretapped conversations that were private or irrelevant, calling the agency’s action “unnecessary”, “voyaeuristic” and “disgraceful.” But  he refused a request by the defense to bar all tapes from being used in an upcoming insider trading trial in Manhattan.

Defendant Craig Drimal, a former Galleon Group hedge fund trader, had asked that all tapes  be barred because the FBI listened to “scores” of  personal conversations with his wife, “some of a particularly intimate and personal nature,” according the judge’s ruling. The government is supposed to stop listening to wiretapped conversations when it determines the  talk is personal or irrelevant.

“As these eight calls illustrate, for at least portions of the wiretaps, the government failed to take appropriate steps to ensure that unnecessary intrusions into the private lives of its targets were kept to a minimum,” U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan wrote.

“While the majority of these calls were not particularly lengthy — indeed, most were under two minutes — in each of these calls it should have been apparent within seconds that the conversation was privileged and non-pertinent. As the Court stressed at the hearing, given the deeply personal nature of several of these conversations, the agents’ failure to minimize was nothing short of ‘disgraceful.'”

But Sullivan added:  “Nevertheless, viewing the wiretap as a whole, the Court cannot find that the government’s conduct was so unreasonable that it warrants the ‘drastic and excessive’ remedy of total suppression.”

“Given the wiretap’s scope and the substantial manpower needed to sustain it, the Court concludes that, on the whole, the wiretap was professionally conducted and generally well-executed,” Sullivan wrote.

Drimal’s attorney JaneAnne Murray told Reuters: “This litigation prompted the U.S. Attorneys’ Office to review its wiretap procedures. Hopefully, the deeply troubling privacy intrusion Sullivan found here will not occur again.”

A spokesperson for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment, according to Reuters.

Read Judge’s Ruling

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Rep. Issa Threatens to Hold ATF in Contempt

ATF's Kenneth Melson /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) continues to hammer away at ATF.

On Wednesday, the Congressman threatened to  begin contempt proceedings against the agency if it continues to hold back subpoenaed documents on the controversial gun-walking programs that encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers — all in hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

David Codrea of The Examiner reported that Issa, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,  fired off a letter dated April 20 to acting ATF director Ken Melson  stating: “I am hereby informing you that the Committee intends to enforce the subpoena issued to you on March 31, 2011. If you do not comply with the subpoena, the Committee will be forced to commence contempt proceedings.”

Earlier on in the 6-page letter, Issa stated: “I am disappointed that you have failed to produce any documents that would meet your legal obligation by the subpoena’s April 13 deadline. ”

Issa’s committee has been pushing to review Project Gunrunner and its offshoot Operation Fast and Furious.

The ATF gunwalking program proved an embarrassment. ATF lost track of some of the guns, which ended up in the hands of criminals. The committee is trying to determine if the guns were used in the murder of a border agent and an ICE agent.

ATF declined comment on the letter.

Read the letter

New Warnings to Replace the Color-Coded Terrorism Ones

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Goodbye Code Orange, Code Yellow. We’ll hardly miss ya.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is set Wednesday to announce the new terrorism advisory warnings that will replace the color coded ones many citizens became numb to.

Authorities said they will include a clear statement on the nature of the threat, and will be defined in one of two ways:which will be defined in one of two ways:

Elevated Threat: Warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States

Imminent Threat: Warns of a credible, specific, and impending terrorist threat against the United States.

“The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly over the past ten years, and in today’s environment – more than ever – we know that the best security strategy is one that counts on the American public as a key partner in securing our country,” Napolitano said in a statement

“The National Terrorism Advisory System, which was developed in close collaboration with our federal, state, local, tribal and private sector partners, will provide the American public with information about credible threats so that they can better protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”

FBI Profilers Looking at Folks Like Serial Killers and Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

By Matthew Goldstein
Reuters

NEW YORK — Bernard Madoff — the architect of history’s biggest Ponzi scheme — and Gary Ridgway – the Green River killer — would seem to have little in common aside from being branded as “monsters” in the tabloids.

But a team of FBI agents, the same ones who specialize in helping local police track down serial killers like Ridgway, are using their expertise in behavioral profiling to target white collar criminals like Madoff.

For about two years now, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit have been consulting with their colleagues in New York who specialize in securities fraud detective work. The BAU agents are going over the case files put together by the FBI for Madoff and other convicted scammers like Bayou Group’s Samuel Israel, whose $400 million hedge fund turned out to be Ponzi scheme, and former Democratic fundraiser Hassan Nemazee, who stole nearly $300 million from Citigroup and two other big banks.

The hope is the BAU agents, whose work in profiling serial killers has been popularized in books, movies and on TV, can get into the minds’ of fraudsters and see what makes them tick.

To read more click here.

 

Jones motion