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Archive for June, 2016

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal of Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Featured_kwamekilpatrick-connectedinteractive_8707

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s travels through the federal court system came to an end on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected without comment his request to appeal his conviction.

A federal jury in 2013 convicted Kilpatrick, 46, of public corruption charges. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison and is currently serving his time in a federal prison in El Reno, Okla.

He appealed his case to U.S. Court of Appeals, which refused to overturn the conviction.

The odds were against the Supreme Court taking the case. It takes so few and usually looks to see if a case brings up new legal issues that need clarification.

One key issue of the appeal, his attorney Harold Gurewitz argued, was that the trial judge gave federal agents too much latitude by letting them interpret for jurors written communications involving Kilpatrick.

 

Whitey Bulger Belongings Are Sold at Auction to Raise Money for Victims

James "Whitey" Bulger's "Psycho Killer Skull" ring was for sale at the auction.

James “Whitey” Bulger’s “Psycho Killer Skull” ring was for sale at the auction.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A framed photo of a car. A “Psycho Killer Skull” ring. Rolling shopping carts.

These were among the items sold on Saturday at an auction of James “Whitey” Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Greig’s belongings, the New York Times reports. 

The auction raised a modest $109,295 for the families of Bulger’s victims.

A friend of Greig’s family bought several photos of cats for $110 and plans to give them back to Grieg when she finishes serving her prison sentence in 2020.

The most expensive item was Bulger’s claddagh ring, which went for $23,000.

Federal Government Selects Site for FBI’s New Central Records Complex

Frederick County, Virginia, where feds are building a new structure for the FBI's records.

Frederick County, Virginia, where feds are building a new structure for the FBI’s records.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s new 256,000-square-foot Central Records Complex will be built in Frederick County.

The General Services Administration purchased the 59-acre site for $4.75 million. The feds plan to build a $109 million facility where more than 440 employees would work, Virginia Business reports. 

The idea is to streamline the FBI’s worldwide records management.

“The centralization of FBI records consolidates records from 265 current locations into a single facility,” Joanna Rosato, regional commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service in the mid-Atlantic Region, said in a statement.  “The CRC will provide the infrastructure and technology for the FBI to continue to digitize records on demand.”

Denver Post: Senate Made Right Choice by Rejecting Warrantless FBI Searches

Data securityBy Editorial Board
Denver Post

Privacy in electronic communications stands in a precarious position, and the U.S. Senate this week might take another shot at knocking it off its perch.

Last week, the Senate came two votes shy of agreeing to permit the FBI to track Americans online without any oversight or due process. An amendment to a federal spending bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would allow the FBI to see whom you e-mail and what websites you visit without bothering to get a warrant.

The FBI already has adequate tools to investigate suspected terrorists and other criminals. Agents need only go to a judge, produce evidence for reasonable suspicion, and they’ll get a warrant faster than a defense attorney can shout “Fourth Amendment.” There’s even an exception for imminent threats.

Law enforcement and nosy federal agencies repeatedly have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to use these sorts of powers without judicial oversight. The National Security Agency conducted a covert national surveillance system involving e-mail and phone calls. And on a more mundane level, local, state and federal law enforcement insisted they could attach GPS trackers to people’s cars without a warrant until the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.

Supporters of such invasions of privacy hold up ideals of public safety and fighting terrorism to justify their cause. For them, nearly any sacrifice of liberty is acceptable to reduce danger, real or hypothetical.

The most shameless among them invoke tragedies as cover.

“Our failure to act to grant this authority, particularly in the wake of this terrible tragedy in Orlando, would be inexcusable,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said about McCain’s amendment.

To read more click here.

Man Charged After Pointing Blinding Laser at Border Patrol Helicopter

laserBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A helicopter pilot for the Border Patrol was forced to take evasive action when a blinding laser was pointed at him in South Texas

Another member of the aircraft crew spotted the source of the light.

Authorities arrested Juan Peralez, 57, late Thursday, KURV.com reports. 

Peralez faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted.

Laser pointers have become big problems for aircraft pilots.

Secret Service Officer Makes Wild Claims about Clinton White House in New Book

crisis of characterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Make no mistake – Gary J. Byrne is no fan of the Clintons.

The former White House Secret Service officer wrote a book, Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate,” that is out Tuesday .

Byrne told the New York Post that he witnessed “the Clinton machine leaving a wake of destruction in just about everything they do.” 

Byrne described Hillary Clinton as “dangerous” and abusive.

“It’s like hitting yourself with a hammer every day,” Byrne said about the First Lady’s anger.

Byrne also said Clinton staffers used cocaine on the job.

“There were some drug issues,” Byrne says. “Some people would come in to work in the morning, and they were barely walking, they would drop stuff off at the office, and go to the restroom where they would come out minutes later happy as a clown.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI, Police Knock on Doors of Activist Ahead of Republican National Convention

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Worried about an outbreak of violence during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, local and federal law enforcement investigators have begun visiting the homes of local activists to gather information on planned demonstrations.

Cleveland.com reports that activists felt the “door-knock” visits were intimidating.

An FBI spokesman for the local branch called the door knocking “community outreach” to ensure next month’s GOP convention is a “safe and secure” event.

About a dozen activists have reported being visited by teams of local and federal law enforcement officials this week.

FBI Finds No Evidence That Orlando Nightclub Shooter Had Secret Gay Life

Omar Mateen

Omar Mateen

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did Omar Mateen, the man responsible for the Orlando nightclub massacre, have gay lovers?

Since the shooting that left 49 people dead, people have claimed Mateen had gay relationships and used gay dating apps.

But so far, the FBI has found no evidence to support those claims, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Investigators have discredited claims by some people who alleged Mateen had sex with men.

To look into the claims, the FBI searched Mateen’s electronic devices and found no photographs, text messages, gay pornography or smartphone apps to support the claims that he had a secret gay life.

During the massacre, Mateen said he was avenging the bombings in the Middle East.