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Must Have? Paper Offers Ringtones of Rod Blagojevich FBI Recordings

iphoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As absurd as this sounds, this might be a “must have” for your cell phone.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill.,  is offering ringtones on iPhones with the FBI recordings of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is on trial in Chicago on public corruption charges, USA Today reports.

The paper reports the ringtones include such colorful statements as: “Only thirteen percent of you all out there think I’m doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you.”

Another one says: “I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden. And I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing.”

Bush Justice Official Never Ok’d Some Harsh CIA Interrogation Techniques

torture1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The controversy over harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush years surfaced again Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.), head of the House Judiciary, released a transcript to the Justice Department showing former Justice Department official Jay S. Bybee told Congressional investigators in May that the CIA may have gone beyond the limits of memos he wrote blessing harsh interrogation techniques, the Washington Post reported.

The Post reported that Bybee, who headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, told investigators in May that he never approved some techniques on detainees like punching, kicking and dousings with cold water.

He did, however, approve waterboarding, the Post reported.

To read full story click here.

Justice Dept. Calls Ex-Detroit Fed Prosecutor Unmanageable

Ex-Prosecutor Richard Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Richard Convertino

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Ex-Detroit federal prosecutor Richard Convertino, who became a controversial figure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, “was a nearly unmanageable employee who blew off reprimands, cut secret deals, kept his bosses in the dark, drummed up lucrative work for a snitch and tried to land a position for himself,” the Detroit Free Press reported, based on a court filing in Washington this week by the U.S. Justice Department.

The filing was part of a request before a judge by the Justice Department to dismiss Convertino’s whistleblower lawsuit. Convertino is in private practice in Michigan.

The Free Press reported that the Justice Department document quoted Convertino’s boss at the time, then-U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins, as saying  Convertino failed to keep him and others in management informed about a terrorism case following the 9/11 attacks or his dealings with Senate invesigators.

“It was almost (as if) you had an unmanageable employee,” the document said.

The Free Press said Convertino’s attorney Stephen Kohn characterized the allegation as “absurd and ridiculous” and a smear tactic.

Convertino was originally applauded after he successfully prosecuted a terrorism case that stemmed from raids right after Sept. 11, 2001. But the case imploded and the terrorism charges were eventually dropped.

The Justice Department eventually criminally charged Convertino with a variety of charges including that he failed to disclose materials in the case.

Convertino was acquitted of all of the charges, but he’s been involved in some lawsuits relating to the office. There continues to be bad blood between him and certain members of the office.

To read full story click here.

Read document

Couple Convicted of Trying to Extort $680,000 From Actor John Stamos

John Stamos

John Stamos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan couple was convicted Thursday of trying to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos in a trial held in federal court in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Scott Edward Sippola 31, and Allison Lenore Coss,24, both of Marquette, Mi., were convicted following a four day jury trial, authorities said. Sentencing is set for Oct. 8.

Authorities said the two began sending Stamos emails in November 2009, saying they had compromising photos of him that they planned to sell to tabloids unless he forked over $680,000. Stamos went to the FBI.

On Dec. 2, 2009, both defendants were arrested near the K.I. Sawyer International airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, authorities said.

Authorities said Coss met Stamos in Orlando in April 2004 during a trip to Disney World. Authorities said Coss was a party with Stamos and about eight others.

Stamos told authorities they developed a friendship and communicated by email, and he testified in court that nothing improper happened at the party and he didn’t believe compromising photos existed.

The FBI never found compromising photos.

Hillary Clinton’s Finance Chairman Hassan Nemazee Gets 12 Years

Morning in ManhattanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A big time Democratic donor and finance chairman of the Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Manhattan to 12 years in prison, the Justice Department announced.

Hassan Nemazee, 60, was sentenced for stealing nearly $300 million from three banks in what authorities described as a Ponzi scheme.

The New York Daily News reported that U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein went below the minimum recommended sentence of 15 ½ years because Nemazee had “good attributes”.

“You’ve done a lot of good in your life,” Stein said, according to the Daily News. “You’ve been extremely charitable, even before this fraud.”

To read more click here.

Obama Nominates U.S. Marshals for N.M., Ky., Del. and Utah

marshalsBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Wednesday nominated four people to fill U.S. Marshal posts in New Mexico, Kentucky, Delaware and Utah.

The nominees included Conrad Ernest Candelaria for New Mexico; James Edward Clark for the Western District of Kentucky; Joseph Anthony Papili for Delaware and James Alfred Thompson for Utah.

“These individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service throughout their careers,” President Obama said in a statement. “I am proud to nominate them to serve and protect the American people as U.S. Marshals.”

The bios are as follows, according to the White House Press release:

Read more »

Fla. Man Opens Fire on Fake FBI Agents Trying to Break in Home

cooper city flaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Fake FBI Agents: Beware of gunslingers.

Earlier this week, a homeowner opened fire on two men posing as FBI agents who were trying to break into his Cooper City, Fla., home, stations WPLG reported. A third man posing as an FBI agent acted as a look out. The men fled and no one appeared to have been hit.

The station reported that three men were clad in baseball hats and T-shirts with the letters FBI on the back.

The men pulled up to the house in a sport utility vehicle around 4 a.m. Monday and two got out, the station reported.

A video shows the men trying to pry open the front door, then the front window when gunfire erupts. They immediately run to the car and take off.

The station reported that homeowner Malcolm Pena, 35, opened fire with his .40-caliber pistol after seeing what was happening.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdA_5r_Gu-A

Obama Nominates U.S. Attys for Indiana and Oklahoma

Joseph Hogsett/law firm photo

Joseph Hogsett/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Former Indiana Secretary of State Joseph H. Hogsett, who is now in private practice, was nominated Wednesday to fill the U.S. Attorney spot in Southern Indiana.

“Joe Hogsett has a distinguished record of public service on behalf of the people of Indiana,” Sen. Evan Bayh said in statement posted on his his website,. “His legal experience, insight, background and temperament make him an excellent choice for U.S. Attorney. He has the respect and support of Indiana law enforcement, judges, elected officials and community leaders.”

On Wednesday, President Obama also nominated Mark F. Green, a sole practitioner and former federal prosecutor, for the U.S. Attorney spot for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Mark Green has also served as an Alternate Judge to the City of Muskogee since 2006.

Hogsett is a senior partner at Bingham McHale LLP.