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Archive for April, 2011

Fed Judge Tosses Conviction of White Supremacist Who Posted Info About Jury Foreman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The message is clear: Even hatemongers have Constitutional rights.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a federal judge has tossed out the conviction in Chicago of  white supremacist William White who posted personal  information on his website about a jury foreman who helped convict a fellow white supremacist in 2004. A jury found White had used the website to solicit an attack on the foreman.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of Milwaukee, who had been assigned to the trial because of local conflicts of interest, wrote in a ruling that prosecutors failed to prove during trial — even though the jury convicted after three hours of deliberation — that supremacist White’s postings on overthrow.com showed he wanted the foreman harmed, the Tribune reported.

She wrote that the posting was protected by the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment protects vehement, scathing and even offensive criticism of others, including individuals involved in the criminal justice system,” Adelman wrote, according to the Tribune. “Knowledge, suspicion or even hope that something might happen to Hoffman is not enough.”

Prosecutors charged that White had posted info in 2008 on his website about jury foreman Mark Hoffman, saying he was the  “gay Jewish anti-racist” juror who had helped convict Matthew Hale for the solicitation of the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, the Trib reported. White also included info about Hoffman including a color photo, home address, phone numbers and his cats name (Hoffman is not Jewish).

Prosecutors during trial pointed out that in 2005, White on his website called for the “assassination” of anyone involved in the Hale trial, the Trib reported.

White’s attorneys argued their client never directly solicited an attack on Hoffman, the Trib reported.

The Tribune reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago is considering an appeal.

Widow and Daughter of Suspect Face Charges in Slaying of W. Va. Deputy Marshal

Dep. U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds aren’t finished dealing with the February shootout in Elkins, W. Va., which resulted in the death of deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller  and the wounding of two other deputies. The suspect Charles Smith was also killed.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia announced charges against the suspect’s  widow,  the daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend, who were home at the time when deputy Marshal  Hotsinpiller and two other deputies came to arrest Charles Smith on drug and firearms charges, the State Journal reported. Smith was fatally shot during the confrontation.

Specifically, the  widow of the suspect, Sherry Smith, 49,  her daughter Cassandra Smith, 25 , and the daughter’s  boyfriend Anthony Lambert,  23,were indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges.

Sherry Smith,  Charles Smith’s wife, is charged with making a false statement when buying a shotgun authorities believe was used in the slaying of  Hotsinpiller, the State Journal reported.  She is also accused of possessing a .30 caliber M2 machine gun and faces conspiracy, obstruction and false statement charges.

Cassandra Smith and Lambert face conspiracy, obstruction and false statement charges.

Read Counts 1-7

Read Counts 8-14

Column: Source Tells Politico Bush Justice Dept. Nixed Prosecution of Islamic Group Tied to Hamas


By Josh Gerstein
Politico

Under President George W. Bush, the Justice Department considered and rejected criminal charges against the Council on American-Islamic Relations for alleged support of Hamas, a knowledgeable source told POLITICO Monday.

The decision not to indict CAIR came in 2004 as prosecutors in Dallas were preparing to seek an indictment of the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officials, the source said. Some prosecutors wanted to include CAIR and others in the case at that time. However, senior Justice Department officials elected not to, the source said. (The Attorney General at the time was John Ashcroft.)

The disclosure of a Bush-era decision not to indict CAIR is noteworthy because some conservatives have alleged in recent days that a Justice Department decision last year to decline prosecution of CAIR, co-founder Omar Ahmad, and others was motivated by politics and a desire to preserve outreach efforts to U.S. Muslim groups.

To read more click here.

The FBI Shows What it Does in Afghanistan

The Oklahoma Bombing 16 Years Later: We’re No Longer Surprised

After the bombing/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sixteen years ago today, America was served up one horrific surprise: The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City: 168 people died.

It was shocker.

At the time — April 19, 1995 –  as a reporter at the Detroit News, I called around to federal law enforcement people, checking to see what they knew. Some speculated that it was foreign terrorists, just like in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Others suggested it had something to do with Waco. The foreign terrorist theory sounded more palatable. The idea of our own citizens committing such an atrocity seemed unlikely.

I was wrong.

Two days later, I was headed up to Decker, Mi., about two hours outside of Detroit, to check out a farm  the FBI and ATF  agents were raiding.  The farm belonged to James Nichols. His brother Terry and Tim McVeigh had spent time there. Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh were later convicted. McVeigh was put to death.

Now, 16 years later, we’ve evolved. The  thought of one our own committing a terrorist act simply doesn’t phase us.  A lone wolf. A naturalized citizen. A convert.  An anti-government fanatic. Nothing surprises us any more.

Sixteen years isn’t a particularly noteworthy milestone. But around this time of year, I always feel like its worth noting and offering condolences to the many families who lost loved ones in Oklahoma City.

Column: The Oklahoma Bombing 16 Years Later: We’re No Longer Surprised

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sixteen years ago today, America was served up one horrific surprise: The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City: 168 people died.

It was shocker.

At the time — April 19, 1995 —  as a reporter at the Detroit News, I called around to federal law enforcement people, checking to see what they knew. Some speculated that it was foreign terrorists, just like in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Others suggested it had something to do with Waco. The foreign terrorist theory sounded more palatable. The idea of our own citizens committing such an atrocity seemed unlikely.

I was wrong.

Two days later, I was headed up to Decker, Mi., about two hours outside of Detroit, to check out a farm  the FBI and ATF  agents were raiding.  The farm belonged to James Nichols. His brother Terry and Tim McVeigh had spent time there. Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh were later convicted. McVeigh was put to death.

Now, 16 years later, we’ve evolved. The  thought of one our own committing a terrorist act simply doesn’t phase us.  A lone wolf. A naturalized citizen. A convert.  An anti-government fanatic. Nothing surprises us any more.

Sixteen years isn’t a particularly noteworthy milestone. But around this time of year, I always feel like its worth noting and offering condolences to the many families who lost loved ones in Oklahoma City.

Justice Dept. Wants Court to Toss Lawsuit Against Secret Service Agents Involving Incident With Ex-Veep Cheney


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has jumped into the fray to try and help two Secret Service agents from being sued in a case linked to former vice president Dick Cheney.

The Associated Press reports that the  Department of Justice filed documents in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver siding with the agents –Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr. and Dan Doyle — who asked that the court overturn the court’s  three-judge panel’s ruling that said Colorado resident Steven Howards could sue them.

AP reported that the Justice Department is arguing that the law protects agents when making split-second decisions when protecting a vice president and president.

AP reported that the Secret Service agents arrested Howards in 2006 after he allegedly approached Cheney at a mall outside of Denver and protested his Iraq policy and touched his shoulder.

Howards alleged in the suit that the arrest was done in retaliation. The feds never charged him and the state dropped charges.

The court panel ruled  last month  that Howards can sue agents on First Amendment grounds, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that two other agents initially named in the suit are immune in the case.

Last month, Howard’s attorney David Lane said: “I fully intend on deposing the former vice president.”

Let the Fun Begin: Fed Prosecutor Calls Blago a “Liar” As Retrial Nears

headline after first trial

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pretrial hearing was like a “weigh in” before the big boxing match, where both sides snipe at one another.

A federal prosecutor on Monday called the very chatty ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich a ‘liar’  at a pretrial hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

And U.S. District Judge James Zagel warned Blago to watch what he yaps to the media because some of those things could be used against him in the trial that begins on Wednesday.

“You can consider my remarks a red flag,” Zagel said.

Lead prosecutor Reid Schar complained about Blagojevich,  who was saying in the media that federal attorneys tried to hide evidence that might  clear him of the accusations, which include allegations that he tried to sell President Obama’s vacant Senate seat, the Tribune reported.

Schar said in court, according to the Trib:  “This is just an attempt by him to poison what’s going on. . . . At a certain point, enough is enough.”  Schar said he would like to grill Blago on  the witness stand and “confront him with his lies.”  However, it’s not clear if Blago will take the stand in his retrial. He did not in the first trial in which he was only convicted on 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI.

Schar was particularly annoyed by Blago’s comments on TV in which he said the government had the power to publicly release more FBI wiretap recordings, the Tribune reported. Schar said that power resides with the judge. Blago has claimed repeatedly that the prosecutors don’t want to release all the FBI recordings, which would prove his innocence.

“We’d like some remedy for those fabrications that he’s not being called on,” he said, according to the Tribune.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky countered by saying Blago  was offering up his understanding of the rules and intentionally fabricating them, according to the Trib.

Blagojevich spokesman Glenn Selig said in a statement, according to the Trib: “The governor will continue to be truthful, honest and responsible as he does everything he can to clear his name.”