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Column: Feds Drop Tainted Star Witness In Politicized NJ Witch-Hunt

Andrew Kreig is Executive Director of the Justice Integrity Project. Kreig has two decades experience as an attorney and non-profit executive in Washington, DC and is an author and longtime investigative reporter.

Andrew Kreig

By Andrew Kreig

The Justice Department is dropping its disreputable star witness in the latest trial of the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” corruption case that helped propel former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to his state’s governorship last year. Christie’s image as a crime-fighting, cost-conscious reformer worthy of 2012 Presidential consideration has taken big hits during the last month.

More generally, the case illustrates a bipartisan pattern by which DOJ officials waste vast sums to help their cronies and themselves, with scant meaningful oversight by leaders of either party or career officials who lend their names to whitewashed internal investigations.

The first image-blow to the DOJ was the Oct. 27 acquittal of a former Ridgefield mayor after the defense exposed mind-boggling ways that Christie’s team funded bank fraudster and brothel owner Solomon Dwek to inveigle local political candidates, rabbis and others into corruption schemes.

Then the DOJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine exposed Christie, right, on Nov. 9 as the nation’s leading abuser among federal prosecutors of wasting taxpayer money on government-funded trips that exceed spending limits.

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

Bid Rig III federal prosecutors last week removed Dwek for unexplained reasons from the witness list for the trial of former state assemblyman Harvey Smith, 61.

Authorities this week will try to prove in Newark’s federal courthouse that Dwek bribed Smith with $15,000 during the defendant’s unsuccessful 2009 campaign to become mayor of Jersey City.

To read more click here.

Nine Busted in Largest PCP Seizure in DEA History

PCP/dea file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nine people have been busted in what authorities in Houston say is DEA’s largest seizure of the narcotic PCP in its history.

Authorities said it had seized 57 gallons of the drug which goes by street names including angel dust and rocket fuel. A grand jury indicted the nine people last month, and the indictment was unsealed Wednesday.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the seizure of such a large quantity “could signal the emergence of a huge new market for the drug, which was popular in some areas in the 1970s but keeps a far lower profile than cocaine, marijuana or other illegal substances, authorities said.”

“That represents a lot of money and a lot of users,” Stan Furce, director of Houston’s High Intensity Drug Traffic Area, a coalition of federal and local law-enforcement agencies that stretches to the coastal counties, told the paper.

“They almost don’t feel any pain,” Furce said of PCP users. “They become super agitated, rebellious and super strong. I would not want to go one-on-one against a PCP user … wild-eyed, scary-looking dudes.”

Democratic Senator Threatens to Put Confirmation of DEA’s Michele Leonhart on Hold

Sen. Herb Kohl/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– The long winding road to confirmation as head of the DEA ain’t over yet for Michele Leonhart, who won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. She has been acting head of the agency since 2007 and must still win approval of the full Senate.

Evan Perez of the Wall Street Journal reports that Democratic Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)is threatening to block her confirmation “amid a dispute over restrictions on how nursing homes dispense prescription drugs to patients.”

The Journal reports that the DEA has intensified its crackdown of nursing homes that dispense powerful prescription drugs by nurses and staff without doctor authorization.

The Journal reports that industry groups say nursing homes don’t have enough doctors present to prescribe drugs at every turn.

Sen. Kohl  said Wednesday he’ll put a hold on the nomination “until we have made more progress towards our goal of ensuring that nursing home residents get timely access to the prescription drug care they need,” the Journal reported.

“Every day nursing home patients continue to suffer from agonizing pain and we need an interim solution as soon as possible,” Kohl said, according to the Journal.

The DEA deferred to the White House for comment, the Journal reported, adding that the White House said it is looking into the matter.

President Nominates Christopher Thyer for U.S. Attorney in Ark.

Christopher Thyer

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday nominated Christopher R. Thyer, a former state lawmaker, for the U.S. Attorney post in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

According to a White House press release, Thyer has been a partner at Stanley & Thyer in Jonesboro, Ark., since 2007.

Before that, he was a partner at Halsey & Thyer, PLC from 2005 to 2007, and at Mooney Law Firm from 1997 to 2005.

From 1995 to 1997, he was a sole practitioner. He also served in the Arkansas House of Representatives as a State Representative for the 74th District from 2003 to 2009.

He attended the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1995.

Authorities Break Ground for New FBI Office in Portland

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal and local officials broke ground Wednesday for a new $60 million, four-story FBI field office in Portland, Ore., The Oregonian newspaper reported. It is third FBI field in the  nation under construction.

The new office is part of an effort by the FBI to update offices and make them more secure, the Oregonian reported. It said after Sept. 11, when the agency started adding more agents, the FBI found that 35 of its 56 field offices had insufficient security or no room to expand.

The Portland office is being built in the northeast sector of the city, near the Portland International Airport.

The Portland field office will consist of three buildings: a four-story office complex, a maintenance and repair annex and a 203- space parking structure, the Oregonian reported.

Office are also being built in Minneapolis and Cincinnati, the Oregonian reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Lee Harvey Oswald’s Coffin Goes on Auction (AP)
Delaware Jury Awards $30 Mil to Priest Abuse Victim (AOL News)
Snowman With Noose Appalls Idaho Neighbors (AP)
Court Rejects Appeal in Calif. Fatal Dog Mauling Case (AP)
Elizabeth Smart Storms From Courtroom During Psychiatrist’s Testimony (AP)
Phone Prankster Gets 5 Years in Prison (The Smoking Gun)
Justice Department Drops Probe of Sen. John Ensign (AP)
Pretrial Hearing Set in Blagojevich Case (AP)

Assistant Chief- Justice Dept. Antitrust Division

Department of Justice Seal

ASSISTANT CHIEF (GS-905-15)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
ANTITRUST DIVISION
LITIGATION I SECTION


About the Office: The U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, is seeking a highly qualified attorney to serve in a two-year term position as Assistant Chief of its Litigation I Section. This term may be extended beyond its initial two years. The Litigation I Section (“Lit I”) investigates and prosecutes civil violations of the antitrust laws in a broad range of industries, including health care insurance, health care providers, dairy, beer, pulp and paper, and cosmetics.

Major Duties: As Assistant Chief of the Litigation I Section, the incumbent’s major duties and responsibilities include: supervising a staff of attorneys, paralegals, and support; overseeing the development of complex litigation and prosecution; and maintaining personal contacts to establish and maintain lines of responsibility, coordination, and support with officials and employees of the Division.

Qualifications:

1) Applicants must posses a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any U.S. jurisdiction), have at least four years of post-J.D. experience, and be a U.S. citizen;
2) Significant experience in the investigation and pursuit of federal antitrust issues;
3) Demonstrated leadership and supervisory experience;
4) Experience in overseeing the development and prosecution of antitrust cases and reviewing the work product of attorneys;
5) Familiarity with federal regulatory and investigative agencies;
6) Ability to help formulate and implement Antitrust Division policies on all matters pertaining to assigned areas.

Salary Information: Candidates are being solicited at the GS-15 level, ranging in pay from $123,758 – $155,500 per annum, depending on current salary and experience.

Location: Washington, DC

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses will not be authorized.

Deadline and Submission Process: Applications must be received no later than December 3, 2010. For consideration, please list the source of the advertisement to which you are applying, and submit a cover letter (highlighting relevant experience) and a resume (e-mail preferred) to:

atr.personnel@usdoj.gov
Attention: Karen Jung
Department of Justice/Antitrust Division
450 Fifth Street, NW
Room 3104
Washington, D.C. 20530

For additional information about this position, please contact:
Karen Jung
Phone: (202) 514-8885
atr.personnel@usdoj.gov

Internet Sites: Additional information on the Antitrust Division is located on the Internet at http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/. This and selected other legal position announcements can be found at www.usdoj.gov/oarm/attvacancies.html.

Department Policies: The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys’ Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. Citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. Citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department’s mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There is no formal rating system for applying veterans’ preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans’ preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans’ preference must include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documentation) to their submissions. Although the “point” system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of SF 15, which lists the types of 10-point preferences and the required supporting document(s). Applicants should note that SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service-connected disabilities or receipt of nonservice-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

* * *

The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Assistant U.S. Attorney

Department of Justice Seal

ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Middle District of Pennsylvania
10-MDPA-09
November 26, 2010


About the Office: The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania embraces 33 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, making it geographically the largest district in the state. The district, which runs from the New York border on the north, to the Maryland border on the south, encompasses approximately 21,907 square miles, or roughly 47% of the land mass of Pennsylvania, and houses over 3,000,000 people. While much of the district is rural in character, it contains the following major metropolitan centers: Harrisburg, the state capital, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, York, Lebanon, and State College. The headquarters office is in Scranton, and there are two branch offices, one in Williamsport, and the other in Harrisburg. Within this large, and diverse, judicial district, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania represents the Department of Justice and other federal agencies in all litigation, civil and criminal, conducted within the District in which the United States, or a federal agency, is a party.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is seeking applications from experienced attorneys for an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) position. This particular vacancy is a TERM position, not to exceed one year, and will specialize in a variety of complex criminal and civil litigation including, but not limited to, federal grand jury practice, federal criminal pre-trial litigation, trials, post-sentencing proceedings and appeals, bankruptcy, Affirmative Civil Enforcement, mortgage foreclosures, prisoner litigation, torts and employment discrimination, etc. AUSAs have the opportunity to represent the interests of the United States in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Moreover, in performing this important public service, Assistant U.S. Attorneys exercise responsibility that is unparalleled in any other job that a litigator might undertake.

Qualifications: Preferred experience would include at least three years experience in litigation, including trial and courtroom experience. The applicant must work well with client agencies, possess a J.D. degree, be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction), possess superior oral and written communication skills, as well as strong character and interpersonal skills, and have demonstrated the capacity to function, with minimal guidance, in a highly demanding environment.

Travel: Travel throughout the district may be necessary, extending throughout the state of Pennsylvania less frequently. Training opportunities are provided at the National Advocacy Center, in Columbia, South Carolina; travel there and other sites throughout the nation may be required.

Salary Information: Assistant United States Attorneys’ pay is administratively determined based, in part, on the number years of professional attorney experience. The current recruiting range of basic pay for a line AUSA is $44,581.00 to $117,994.00 ( plus locality pay where authorized).

Location: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses will not be authorized.

Application Process and Deadline Date: Please mail your resume to:

Ms. Gail Dvornicky
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
P.O. Box 309
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18501-0309

No telephone calls please. Applications for this announcement will be accepted until December 6, 2010. Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on December 6, 2010.

Internet Sites: This and other attorney vacancy announcements can be found at: http://www.usdoj.gov/oarm/attvacancies.html

Department Policies: Assistant United States Attorneys generally must reside in the district to which he or she is appointed. See 28 U.S.C. § 545 for district-specific information.

All initial attorney appointments to the Department of Justice are made on a time-limited (temporary) basis. Temporary appointments may, or may not, be extended or made permanent without further competition.

The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, status as a parent, membership or nonmembership in an employee organization, or personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

It is the policy of the Department to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected for employment will be required to pass a drug test which screens for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the completion and satisfactory adjudication of a background investigation. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for employment with the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the United States Attorneys’ Offices. Unless otherwise indicated in a particular job advertisement, non-U.S. citizens may apply for employment with other organizations, but should be advised that appointments of non-U.S. citizens are extremely rare; such appointments would be possible only if necessary to accomplish the Department’s mission and would be subject to strict security requirements. Applicants who hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and another country will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There is no formal rating system for applying veterans’ preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans’ preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans’ preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD-214 or other substantiating documents) to their submissions. Although the “point” system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documentation required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit the OPM website, http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF15.pdf for a copy of the SF 15, which lists the types of 10 point preferences and the required supporting documents). Applicants should note that the SF 15 requires supporting documentation associated with service-connected disabilities or receipt of non service-connected disability pensions to be dated 1991 or later except in the case of service members submitting official statements or retirement orders from a branch of the Armed Forces showing that his or her retirement was due to a permanent service-connected disability or that he/she was transferred to the permanent disability retired list (the statement or retirement orders must indicate that the disability is 10% or more).

The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

Trial Attorney for U.S. Trustees

Department of Justice Seal

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES TRUSTEES
WASHINGTON, DC
TRIAL ATTORNEY, GS-905-15
Announcement Number: 10-49-14002


The Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) is seeking an experienced attorney to serve as a Trial Attorney for the Office of the General Counsel. The EOUST oversees the work of the United States Trustee Program (USTP) by providing leadership, central policy and management direction, and administrative services to 95 field offices.

About the Office: The USTP promotes the integrity and efficiency of the bankruptcy system by enforcing bankruptcy laws, providing oversight of private trustees, and maintaining operational excellence. The USTP carries out administrative, regulatory, and litigation responsibilities under titles 11 and 28 of the United States Code, and engages in significant enforcement efforts to combat fraud and abuse in the bankruptcy system.

Responsibilities and Opportunity Offered: The incumbent will be responsible for providing advice to EOUST’s employee relations staff and the General Counsel’s Office on matters relating to performance, disciplinary and adverse actions, claims of reprisal, and the Department’s Agency Grievance Procedure; will work with and provide advice and guidance to managers and employee relations staff on drafting notices of disciplinary and adverse actions and responses to employee grievances; will provide support to the Department in petitions before the Courts of Appeals; will provide legal advice on personnel staff issues when requested; will represent the Department before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); will serve as an instructor for the Program’s management training programs.

Qualifications: Applicants must possess a Juris Doctorate degree and be an active member of the bar (any jurisdiction). Applicants must have at least three years of post-J.D. legal experience, at the Federal level.

Preferred Qualifications:

Exceptional research, writing and oral communication skills.
Experience handling cases before the MSPB and EEOC.
Experience in 1) representing parties before a quasi-judicial administrative third-party; 2) advising managers on labor and/or employee relations matters; 3) drafting and/or reviewing notices of disciplinary and adverse actions; and 4) public speaking/training.

Travel: A minimal amount of travel is required for this position.

Salary Information: This position is being filled at the GS-15 level ($123,758.00 – $155,500.00 per annum).

Location: Washington, DC.

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Submission Process and Deadline Date: Applicants must submit a resume or an OF 612 (Optional Application for Federal Employment), a law school transcript and a cover letter highlighting skills and qualifications via email to: eoust.hrd@usdoj.gov or mail to:

U.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for U.S. Trustees
Human Resources Division
20 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Suite 8212
Washington, DC 20530
Attn: Velicia M. Jacobs
Ref: Vac. # 10-49-14002

A current SF-171 (Application for Federal Employment) will still be accepted as well. The OF-612 may be obtained on OPM’s web site, www.usajobs.opm.gov as well as additional information regarding the announcement or by calling the local OPM Employment office or OPM’s automated telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or by TDD at (478) 744-2299. No phone calls please. Applications must be postmarked by the closing date of 12/07/10. Current/former Federal employees must submit a performance appraisal issued within the last 12 months and the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action. Applicants must also submit two recent writing samples related to the handling of employment matters. THOSE WHO APPLIED UNDER VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER 10-46-14001 NEED NOT REAPPLY.

Internet Sites: http://www.justice.gov/ust/

Department Policies: The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, status as a parent, membership or nonmembership in an employee organization, or personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Department of Justice cannot control further dissemination and/or posting of information contained in this vacancy announcement. Such posting and/or dissemination is not an endorsement by the Department of the organization or group disseminating and/or posting the information.

It is the policy of the U.S. Department of Justice to achieve a drug-free workplace and persons selected will be required to pass a drug test to screen for illegal drug use prior to final appointment. Employment is also contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background investigation adjudicated by the Department of Justice.

There is no formal rating system for applying veterans’ preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Department of Justice considers veterans’ preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans’ preference are encouraged to include that information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documentation (e.g., the DD 214 or other substantiating documents) to their submissions.

This and selected other legal position announcements can be found on the Internet at: http://www.justice.gov/oarm/attvacancies.html