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FBI’s Knoxville Headquarters Sold for $31.7 Million

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A Florida investment firm purchased FBI regional field office in Knoxville, Tenn., for $31.7 million, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

The four-story building was appealing because the FBI is a responsible landlord and it has environmentally friendly and energy efficient features, broker John Adams said.

The building was originally scheduled to be completed in March 2009 but hit roadblocks, including liens and construction delays.

New Orleans Police Reach Far-Reaching Deal with Justice Department

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The New Orleans Police Department reached a landmark deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to overhaul the city’s scandal-plagued police force, the New York Times reports.

The aim of the 122-page consent decree is to improve safety in the city and end corruption and abuse.

“Effective policing and constitutional policing go hand in hand,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said at an afternoon news conference with federal and local officials.

The Justice Department has consent decress with others, such as the Detroit Police Department, but none is as wide-ranging as New Orleans, the Times reported.

Study: Bath Salts Similar to Cocaine in Brain

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Commonly abused bath salts act like cocaine in the brain, U.S. researchers have found, UPI reports.

Mephedrone, which is in so-called bath salts, activate reward centers of the brain, leading to addiction, said Dr. C.J. Malanga, an associate professor of neurology, pediatrics and psychology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

The study measured the effects of mephredone on reward centers of the brain and discovered the stimulant acts similarly to cocaine.

“As expected our research shows that mephedrone likely has significant abuse liability,” Malanga said in a statement. “It increases the rewarding potency of intracranial self-stimulation just like cocaine does.”

FBI Probes Link Between Trenton City Hall, Towing Business

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents investigating bribery, fraud, extortion and money laundering at Trenton City Hall are probing the owner of a scrap auto and towing business, the New Jersey Times reports.

Feds investigating Mayor Tony Mack’s administration are examining business dealings the city had with Nedal Abuhumoud, owner of Acres Auto in Hamilton and co-founder of a Trenton scrap yard and towing business, according to the New Jersey Times.

Abuhumoud told the Times he is not part of the investigation and has not been questioned by the FBI.

The news comes a week after agents searched Mack’s home and city hall.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Department Defends Suit Against Apple, Publishers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice defended its suit against Apple and book publishers, saying they colluded to raise e-book prices, the New York Times reports.

The government sued Apple and five publishers and reached settlement with the Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins in an attempt to reduce e-book prices.

But Apple and the remaining publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, refused to settle and will face trial next summer.

The Justice Department defended its actions after 868 comments during a 60-day comment period and dismissed claims that the lawsuits would narrow the field of retailers.

The idea is to reduce prices, feds said.

FBI Sued for Documents Related to Muslim-American Groups and Agent Training

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A government watchdog group is suing the FBI to force the release details of  its contacts with American-Muslim groups that urged the the bureau to stop using certain counter-terrorism materials for agents that they deemed offensive, the Washington Examiner reports.

At issue is a Feb. 8, 2012, meeting between Muslim organizations FBI Director Robert Mueller.

“Our concern is that we have these advocates for terrorists controlling how law enforcement approaches the problem of Islamic terrorism,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told the Examiner.

After complaints that some counter-terrorism training was considered offensive or inaccurate to Muslims, the FBI overhauled its program for field agents.

To address the concerns, the FBI meet with American Muslims.

Some Inmates Would Be Released Early Under Justice Department Plan

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is endorsing a plan that would speed up the release dates for well-behaved prisoners in a plan aimed at saving on detention costs, NPR reports.

Strapped for cash, the Justice Department is looking for ways to handle the overcrowded federal prison system that handles 218,000 inmates.

Under the plan, inmates would be given two-months credit for every year they participate in a program that reduce recidivism, according to NPR.

A second plan would increase from 47 to 54 the number of days an inmate can receive for good behavior.

Holder to Announce Major Reforms for New Orleans Police Department

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will announce an array of reforms in the New Orleans Police Department on Tuesday as part of the most far-reaching consent decree of its kind, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

A monitor and federal judge will direct the mandated oversight spelled out in a 125-page agreement for at least four years.

The city will remain under a consent decree until the agency is free of violations for two years, the Times-Picayune wrote.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, virtually every aspect of the police force needs to be reformed.