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Justice Dept. Sues Az Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Say it ain’t so Sheriff Joe.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming the Arizona lawman and his department have refused to fully cooperate with the feds’ investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics in police practices and jail operations.

The Justice Department said it took the latest step “after exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access” to documents and facilities.

The Justice Department said since March 2009 it has tried to secure “secure voluntary compliance with the department’s investigation.”

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented. It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

Chicago Tribune: Prosecuting Baseball Star Roger Clemens Waste of “Prosecutorial Resources”

*Jan 06 - 00:05*By Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

If it were a crime to venture onto Capitol Hill to reveal yourself as a self-absorbed liar with an inability to admit mistakes, there would be tumbleweeds blowing through the vacant halls of Congress. Fortunately for members of the legislative branch, that is not a crime. Unless your name is Roger Clemens.

The eccentric baseball legend is not one to let people disparage him without a forceful response, any more than he was one to let batters crowd the plate without retaliation. A couple of years ago, after being accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, he voluntarily appeared before a House committee to heap scorn on the charge.

His denial was not very convincing, since other witnesses — notably longtime teammate Andy Pettitte — had given statements contradicting him. He was repeatedly reminded by skeptical interrogators that he was under oath. Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis joined together afterward to advise the Justice Department that “significant questions have been raised about Mr. Clemens’ truthfulness.”

But never mind if anyone believed him, or if his alleged dissembling made any difference on anything. Federal prosecutors got him indicted for perjury, and he faces trial on charges that carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison.

It’s possible to imagine less worthy uses of prosecutorial resources, but not many.

To read more click here.

NY Feds Deny Misconduct in Gambino Crime Family Case

new-york-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office challenged allegations by a defense attorney that the government was involved in misconduct in a mob case in which a cooperating witness ran a prostitution ring that used a 15-year-old girl, the New York Times reported.

The Times reported that the government, in a court filing Wednesday, said it ended the operation when it learned that the teen was involved.

The filing came in response to a motion by defense attorney, Gerald J. McMahon, who claimed in court papers that the government was engaged in ”outrageous government misconduct” by using the teen. He asked that the case be dismissed.

The motions were in connection with the indictment in April of 14 people linked to the Gambino crime family.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Indict Powerful Maryland State Lawmaker Ulysses Currie on Bribery Charges

Sen. Ulysses Currie/senate photo

Sen. Ulysses Currie/senate photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Powerful Maryland state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie, 73, finds himself in big trouble.

The feds in Baltimore  on Wednesday indicted him for allegedly taking more than $245,000 in bribes to use his office to help a grocery chain, Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Two former Shoppers Food officials were also indicted. (read indictment)

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said it filed a separate criminal information against Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp. The company has agreed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement, which calls for it to pay a $2.5 million penalty.

The indictment alleges that shortly after Currie became chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in 2002, he asked to be placed on the payroll of Shoppers Food Warehouse Corporation to use his elected position to help the grocery chain.

Among the things Currie,a Democrat representing the suburban Prince George’s County,  did to assist the chain was to help it sell liquor at a store and save on the construction of another store, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Read more »

Leader of Pakistan Taliban Charged in Death of 7 CIA Employees in Afghanistan

afghanistan mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials launched a multi-prong attack against the Pakistan Taliban, placing the group on the international terrorism black list while indicting its leader in the death of seven CIA employees last year on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

The State Department also announced that it was offering a $5 million reward each for information leading to the capture of two top leaders.

One of those leaders,  Hakimullah Mehsud, the self-proclaimed emir of the Pakistani Taliban, was charged in a criminal complaint announced Wednesday  in Washington in connection with the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide bombing that killed the seven CIA employees.

Read more »

FBI Agents Behaving Badly in Texas

texasBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

FBI agents deal with trouble. That’s what they do for a living.

But lately, down in Texas, for some inexplicable reason, FBI agents have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. In fact, in the past nine months, four agents — who are all now ex-agents — from Dallas to Waco have been grabbing headlines for alleged indiscretions.

One was busted on charges of hiring illegal immigrants to work at her suburban Dallas deli. Another illegally sold guns, then lied to investigators. One agent killed a neighbor’s Chihuahua with a pellet rifle. And one is accused of making death threats against folks at the FBI.

“It’s obviously critically important those in law enforcement follow the law and when they don’t, it significantly hurts public trust,” James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, told AOL News.

The FBI did not return a call for comment.

The latest embarrassment for the FBI in the Lone Star State involves Carlos Ortiz, 48, a Dallas agent. He was fired last Wednesday — the same day he was arrested on charges of threatening to kill his wife and the head of the Dallas FBI, Robert Casey Jr.

The following day, U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez ruled Ortiz was a danger to the community and should remain behind bars pending trial.

“It’s a very sad day for law enforcement,” she commented in court.

The Dallas Morning News reported that Ortiz last week received a dismissal letter that chronicled allegations of spousal abuse and mentioned a 1992 incident in which SWAT officers were called in to deal with Ortiz, who had barricaded himself in his home over job stress and personal issues.

His father and girlfriend told the paper that Ortiz is not a violent person. They blamed the matter on the estranged wife.

Meanwhile, court records indicate Dallas FBI Agent Ann Cox has signed a guilty plea agreement to charges that she hired six illegal immigrants in 1997 to 2008 to work at the Schlotzsky’s deli she owned in Rockwall, Texas.

Cox, who is no longer with the bureau, is expected to enter the plea Friday. She sold the deli at the end of 2008, according to a manager at the restaurant.

So far, El Paso FBI agent John Shipley, 40, has taken the hardest hit among the troubled Texas agents. Last week, he was sentenced to two years in prison for illegally selling more than $118,000 worth of guns without a license and lying to agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the sales while he was still with the FBI.

A federal jury convicted him in April after less than three hours of deliberation.

ATF agents had arrested Shipley last year after tracing back to him a .50-caliber rifle that was used in a drug cartel shootout in Chihuahua, Mexico. Court records show that between 2005 and 2008, he posted at least 280 firearms for sale on just one site alone, GunBroker.com.

And speaking of Chihuahuas, FBI agent Lovett Leslie Ledger Jr., who was detailed to the Waco FBI, was dismissed from his job near the end of 2009 after he shot and killed a neighbor’s 3-pound Chihuahua dog with a pellet rifle in 2008. The dog, named Sassy, belonged to a girl down the street.

He pleaded no contest last summer to felony animal cruelty and was placed on two years’ probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service.

Hoopla Over Detained Yemini Men Appears to be Nothing

plane window2UPDATE: Tuesday, 2:10 p.m — The Associated Press reports that Dutch prosecutors said the two Yemeni men were released without charge Wednesday after investigators found no evidence of a terror plot.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — All the hoopla over two Yemeni men detained in Amsterdam appears to be nothing, federal law enforcement sources said.

The two U.S. residents, Ahmad Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi, 48, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Hezem al-Murisi, 37, of Memphis, missed their flight on Sunday at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and got on another flight. Screeners found some items that appeared to be suspicious and speculation circulated that the men were possibly trying a test run for a terrorism attack.

But sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said relatives and friends were being interviewed and leads were being followed up and there  was no indication the men had any terrorist affiliations.

They caught a different flight, but some of their baggage had already been loaded on the flight they missed, including items that had been taped together and attracted attention from airport screeners. Though no explosives were found, investigators considered the possibility that the men might be conducting a test run for a terrorist attack, officials said.

Read NY Times story

Number 2 Guy at FBI Ultimate Insider

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

Timothy Murphy/fbi photo

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — In the federal government, there are inside people and outside people, those who work in the bowels of the bureaucracy and others who seek out the media glare.

Timothy P. Murphy is an inside guy.

The FBI’s new deputy director speaks in the language of corporate governance and tries to run the bureau like a business. He posts “strategy maps” on his wall. Asked if he wants to replace longtime FBI director Robert S. Mueller III when Mueller’s 10-year term expires in 2011, Murphy laughs.

“I’m more of a behind-the-scenes, fix-the-problems type of guy,” says Murphy, 48, who took over the FBI’s second-ranking job in July. “I’m humbled by the director asking me to do this job, but . . . in my opinion, I’m a good number two.”

To read more click here.