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Archive for September 20th, 2021

Michigan Judge Jonathan Tukel, an ex-Federal Prosecutor, Dies at 60

By Allan Lengel

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Jonathan Tukel, a former federal prosecutor, died Friday. He was 60.

Jonathan Tukel

“Judge Tukel’s devotion to the rule of law and the constitution was surpassed only by his love and dedication to his family, friends and the University of Michigan, where he was an adjunct professor,” said Chief Judge Christopher M. Murray in a statement.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Tukel of Orchard Lake was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2017, and was later elected.

A graduate of University Michigan undegrad and law school, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990 where he went on to become chief of the National Security Unit, overseeing counter-terrorism, terrorist-financing, export control and other programs.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tukel was an associate at the law firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn, where he focused on antitrust, labor, employment discrimination and wrongful termination and white collar criminal defense.

In 2012, he received the Attorney General Award from the Department of Justice for “Excellence in Furthering the Interest in U.S. National Security.” 

Kris Dighe, a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote on Facebook:

“This news about my friend and former colleague saddens me. Jon was a bright and talented attorney who brought a ferocious dedication and sound judgment to everything he did.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Straus, a friend and former colleague said Saturday:

“Yesterday we lost a great friend, a great colleague and a great legal mind. He’ll be clearly missed by many.”  

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade tweeted:

The passing of Judge Jonathan Tukel is a tremendous loss to our legal community and all of us who knew him. Jon was smart, funny, and deeply committed to the rule of law. Glad he got to see his beloved @umichfootball start the season undefeated.

He is survived by wife Sandra Tukel, children Steven Tukel, Henry Tukel and Andrew Tukel and sister  Susan Tukel and brother Daniel Tukel.

An outdoor funeral was held on Sunday in Birmingham, Mich.  

Sen. Grassley Urges Attorney General to Appoint Federal Investigator to Review Botched Nassar Case

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling

Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling on a federal investigation into the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar case.

Grassley, the top member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Attorney General Merrick Garland should appoint a federal prosecutor or special counsel to examine the botched investigation and potentially pursue criminal charges. 

“Nassar abused hundreds of young athletes while FBI sat on its thumb,” Grassley said in a written statement Friday. “DOJ refused to attend the Judiciary Committee hearing this week to face questions. Attorney General Garland should assign a federal prosecutor or special counsel to uncover what the FBI knew and when, as well as to seek prosecutions of those involved in the cover-up. These brave gymnasts and all Nassar survivors deserve accountability, especially from the Justice Department.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday heard testimony from U.S. gymnasts and FBI Director Christopher Wray, who apologized for the bureau’s handling of the case.

Two months earlier, the Justice Department’s Inspector General concluded that the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office “failed to respond to the Nassar allegations with the utmost seriousness and urgency that they deserved and required.”

In the meantime, Grassley and his colleagues are working on legislation that would strengthen a federal “child sex tourist” statute that the inspector general said was inadequate. 

CBP Temporarily Closes Del Rio Border Crossing in Response to Influx of Migrants

By Steve Neavling

U.S. customs and Border Protection has temporarily closed the Del Rio border crossing with Mexico as authorities grapple with a large influx of migrants who formed a makeshift campuses under a bridge. 

CBP announced Friday that it was re-rerouting traffic from Del Rio to Eagle Pass in Texas to manage resources and free up the flow of travel and trade. 

“This temporary closure and shift is necessary in order for CBP to respond to urgent safety and security needs presented by an influx of migrants into Del Rio and is effective immediately,” CBP said in a news release. “It will advance and protect national interests and help ensure the safety of the traveling public, commercial traffic, and CBP employees and facilities.”

The inundation of migrants, mostly Haitians, has strained resources in Del Rio, a bilingual town of 36,000 residents. Authorities estimate more than 12,900 migrants have tried to cross the border into Del Rio.  

The migrants entered the country illegally and are hoping to claim asylum.