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Archive for February 24th, 2020

Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor — Nuclear Meltdown Gripping Justice Department

Michael J. Stern, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, was a federal prosecutor for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelJStern1

Attorney General William Barr on ABC News.

By Michael J. Stern
USA Today

“The Real Housewives” have nothing on the Department of Justice when it comes to drama. I don’t mean to be flippant. But if I can’t marvel at the absurdity of the nuclear meltdown that is gripping the institution to which I dedicated my professional career, I’m afraid I will cry.

I was concerned when the punchline “Donald Trump” came to be preceded by the title “president.” But my beloved DOJ was filled with career prosecutors whose dedication and integrity would keep the ship on course — even if the storm lasted four years.

I was confident that the traditions that made the Justice Department the most respected law enforcement organization in the world would surely allow it to weather any attorney general Trump could install.

But Trump has commandeered the department and sent a clear message: “Investigate me or people close to me and I will undercut years of your hard work, trash your reputation on Twitter, and create a Hobson’s choice between your integrity and your ability to earn a living. And if you pick the former, I will issue a pardon and undo all you worked for anyway.”

Read the full column

Ex-DEA Agent and Wife Charged With Laundering Colombian Drug Money

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-DEA agent Jose I. Irizarry has been charged with working with Colombian drug dealers to launder money seized from undercover drug operations, the Justice Department announced Friday. He allegedly used the cash to buy a Tiffany diamond ring, a $135,000 Land Rover and a home in Cartagena.

The 19-indictment unsealed in Tampa, Fla., also named his wife Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry (Gomez), 36.

Authorities charged the scheme involved diverting money from undercover money laundering investigations into bank accounts the couple controlled along with family members and criminal associates.

Authorities allege that Irizarry was in personal bankruptcy proceedings for nearly the duration of this criminal conduct and failed to disclose any of his illicit income to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Irizarry is charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft and aggravated identity theft.  Gomez is charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.