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Justice Department to Review Criminal Case Against Ex-Justice Civil Rights Division Head Bradley Schlozman

Bradley Scholzman

Bradley Schlozman

One question is: How much resources and how much resolve does the Holder Justice Department have to continue investigating the question marks in the Bush era? This case may test that question.

By Justin Elliott
TPMMuckraker

The Bradley Schlozman saga might have some life left in it, yet.

The Justice Department is reviewing a decision made earlier this year under the Bush Administration not to charge Schlozman, the former official who was found by an Inspector General report to have made false statements to the Senate about whether he considered political affiliations in hiring.

A DOJ spokesman told TPMmuckraker today the Schlozman case is “under review,” confirming that Attorney General Eric Holder is acting on a promise he made during his confirmation hearings to take another look at the case.

An IG report released in January found Schlozman broke federal law by considering ideological affiliations in hiring at the department’s Civil Rights Division. The report also found Schlozman falsely denied he considered politics in hiring in sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Senators and Experts Say U.S. Falling Short in Helping Mexico Battle Cartels

border-fence-photo2Just like the mortgage debacle, if we continue to fall short in addressing the Mexican drug war, it will spin out of control and cost more lives in the U.S. The problem has already spilled over into our states. It can only get worse if we continue to fall short.

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. efforts to help the Mexican government battle powerful organized crime networks are falling short, and a recent sharp spike in violence south of the border poses a growing threat to U.S. citizens, senators and independent experts told officials from three federal agencies yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D), who said his state is the principal American gateway for drugs and human smuggling from Mexico, called the Mexican cartels the principal criminal threat for the 21st century. But he criticized Washington’s response as disjointed and called for more intelligence-sharing and better coordination.

“We are not winning the battle,” Goddard told members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and drugs.

Lawmakers joined Goddard in calling for a stronger federal response, including heightened efforts to stanch the illicit stream of thousands of American guns and billions of dollars in cash annually flowing southward across the border.

For Full Story

CIA Officer Accused of Rape Claimed to be an FBI Agent At One Point

cia

This guy sounded like big big trouble. Who knows what he got away with when he was overseas.

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON — Andrew Warren, the former CIA officer accused of date rape in Algiers late last year, caused such a ruckus over parking dispute at a Washington, D.C. hotel three years earlier that the matter was referred to the FBI.

Multiple sources said Warren flashed official credentials and claimed to be an FBI agent during the dispute, which took place in late 2004 or early 2005 when he was escorting Egyptian intelligence officials on an official visit to the CIA.

Warren was a senior CIA operative in Egypt at the time, said the sources, which include two senior former spy agency experts on the region, who demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing the matter.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Justice Dept. Lawyer DeMaurice Smith to Head NFL Players Assoc.

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith

It looks like the NFL players are in good hands if Smith’s credentials are any indication. With an economy in the dumps and issues like steroids always surfacing, Smith should have his hands full.

By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Washington lawyer DeMaurice F. Smith was voted the executive director of the NFL Players Association last night, the union announced.

Smith was elected on the first ballot by a majority vote of the players who serve as union representatives for the 32 teams, sources familiar with the voting results said. The vote took place at the union’s annual meetings in Maui, Hawaii.

Smith is a D.C.-based partner at the firm Patton Boggs with no significant previous NFL ties. He succeeds the late Gene Upshaw.

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A Snapshot of Justice Dept. Nominee Dawn Johnsen: Office of Legal Counsel

Dawn Johnsen

Dawn Johnsen

By AllGov
Dawn E. Johnsen is an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s use of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)-a key part of the Department of Justice that she once led on an interim basis during the Clinton presidency and has been asked to lead again.

During her previous tenure at OLC, she advocated for increased executive power. In 2006, she joined with several other Clinton Justice Department officials in support of retaining the right of the president to use “signing statements” that allow him to bypass laws, claiming that the practice should be retained even if President Bush abused it.

Johnsen does not support the prosecution of CIA operatives and contract employees who committed torture. She does support investigating how it came to pass that the “OLC misinterpreted the law in a way that led to torture.”

Born August 14, 1961, and raised on Long Island, Johnsen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College in 1983, with a BA in economics and political science. She was accepted into Yale Law School, where she served as the article and book review editor of the Yale Law Journal. She received her JD in 1986, and proceeded to clerk for Judge Richard D. Cudahy on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. It was here that Johnsen met her future husband, fellow clerk John Hamilton.
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Appellate Judge Blasts Federal Prosecutor in Salad Dressing Conviction

henries31In this harsh criticism of a federal prosecutor, an appellate judge took the unusual step of specifically mentioning the prosecutor by name. Federal prosecutors should probably take note of the ruling to avoid similar situations in the future.

By Ameet Sachdev
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — U.S. Appeals Judge Richard Posner is known for his provocative opinions, but his harsh criticism of a Chicago federal prosecutor surprises even close court observers.

In a March 12 opinion overturning a 2007 conviction of a suburban businessman who had relabeled bottles of salad dressing, Posner blasted Assistant U.S. Atty. Juliet Sorensen for improper statements. Posner said the appellate panel tossed out the guilty verdict because of insufficient evidence, but he added that even if there had been enough proof, he would have ordered a new trial because of the “prosecutor’s misconduct.”

It’s not unusual for judges to be critical of prosecutorial tactics. But Posner’s rebuke is drawing attention because he identified the prosecutor by name and called for sanctions.

“The government’s appellate lawyer told us that the prosecutor’s superior would give her a talking-to,” Posner wrote in the opinion that was joined by two other judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “We are not impressed by the suggestion.”

For Full Story

Ex-Penn. State Senator Vincent Fumo Found Guilty on 137 Counts; Judge Brushes Off Facebook Controversy

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/whtm.com photo

Ex-Sen. Vincent Fumo/whtm.com photo

After a long drawn out court battle, the ex-state Sen. Vincent Fumo
got hit big– a conviction on all 137 counts. His attorneys tried this morning to derail the deliberations after discovering that one juror had posted a note on Facebook saying “Stay Tuned” for Monday. But after questioning the juror, the judge denied the defense motion. Expect that issue to come up on appeal.

By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Emilie Lounsberry and Robert Moran
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA — Former State Sen. Vincent Fumo was convicted of all 137 counts against him today as his marathon federal corruption trial ended in a stunning victory for prosecutors.

The jury also found co-defendant Ruth Arnao guilty of all 45 counts against her.

After a 30-minute hearing this afternoon, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter agreed to let Fumo and Arnao remain free pending sentencing although he ordered them to post bail of $2 million and $500,000, respectively, by Wednesday.

The two had been free on unsecured own-recognizance bail since they were charged.

Fumo’s bail will be secured by properties he owns in Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania, the Jersey Shore and Florida; Arnao’s will be secured by her home in Philadelphia.

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Fed Grand Jury Probing Alabama Atty. Gen.

Atty. Gen. Troy King

Atty. Gen. Troy King

This is one heck of an interesting situation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montgomery has recused itself and the Birmingham office is handling the probe which seems to be focusing on a variety of matters including gambling and selective prosecution. It’s never good when a state Attorney General is the target of a federal probe, whether there’s something there or not.

By Bob Gambacurta
The Montgomery Independent
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A special called federal grand jury in Montgomery, investigating the Alabama Attorney General and the activities of his office, heard from more than a half-dozen witnesses last week. News of the grand jury investigation caught even the target, Attorney General Troy King, by surprise.

“Sure, that would be a surprise,” King told the Montgomery Independent Monday afternoon when contacted about the investigation. Friends and staff of the Republican Attorney General said they were “shocked” to learn of the investigation.

The Independent broke the story Monday at 7:55 p.m. with a posting on this Web site. Multiple, highly-placed sources told the Independent that at least seven former employees of the Attorney General’s office were called to testify Monday through Friday of last week.

For Full Story