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Will Facebook Comment Derail Jury Deliberations in Philly Federal Corruption Case?

facebook1This was bound to happen. Some folks on Facebook want to announce their every burp and scratch. But in this case, the ramblings of one Facebook member could be costly. As the Facebook message says “STAY TUNED…”

By KITTY CAPARELLA
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — “STAY TUNED for a big announcement on Monday everyone!”

So wrote a blogging juror who’s been deliberating for five days in the public corruption trial of former state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, in a comment posted Friday on his Facebook Internet profile.

The posting by Juror No. 5 – Eric Wuest of suburban College-ville – raised questions:

Is a verdict imminent? Did Wuest have third-party discussions about the trial as a result of his postings on Facebook and Twitter social networking Internet accounts during the 15-week trial and the ensuing deliberations?

Last night, Fumo defense attorneys NiaLena Caravasos and Peter Goldberger filed an emergency motion seeking an immediate suspension of deliberations so the judge could conduct “a delicate, but probing inquiry” of the juror Wuest’s actions.

“Depending on the results, the lawyers wrote, “one or more jurors ought to be removed and possibly replaced.”

For Full Story

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

Dick Cheney Says He Strongly Disagreed With Bush Over Scooter Libby Pardon

Dick Cheney while still v.p.

Dick Cheney while still v.p.

Perhaps one of the more surprising things at the end of the Bush era was that the president did not offer pardons to more high-profile people, particular those like Scooter Libby. Obviously, the grief President Clinton got for pardoning financier Marc Rich must have had some impact on his decision to pass on many pardons.

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former vice president Richard B. Cheney
said yesterday that he strongly disagreed with President Bush’s decision not to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, saying his former chief of staff had been left “hanging in the wind.”

“I think he’s an innocent man who deserves a pardon,” Cheney said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” in what the cable news program billed as his first television interview since leaving office in January.

Libby, Cheney’s top adviser, was the only Bush administration official to face criminal charges in the case surrounding the exposure of Valerie Plame Wilson as a CIA operative in 2003.

For Full Story

Wisconsin U.S. Atty. Erik Peterson Says He’s Glad to Stay for Now

U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson doesn’t know if he’s staying or not, but he’s glad to be sticking around for the time being. He talks about the unfortunate political digressions of the Bush administration when it came to the Justice Department and he mentions the things he’s most proud of in an interview with the Associated Press.

By TODD RICHMOND

U.S. Atty. Erik C. Peterson/doj photo

U.S. Atty. Erik C. Peterson/doj photo

Associated Press Writer
MADISON, Wis. – U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson has quietly done his job for nearly three years.

Then-President George W. Bush named Peterson the top federal prosecutor in the 44-county Western District of Wisconsin in June 2006. His counterpart in Milwaukee, now-former U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, grabbed the headlines after he brought charges against an aide in Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration and his name appeared on documents questioning his performance and loyalty to Bush.

A U.S. Justice Department inquiry concluded that despite Bush administration denials, political considerations played a part in the firings of as many as four federal prosecutors. Nine U.S. attorneys in all were fired in 2006.

Peterson kept working through it all, staying out of the partisan crossfire. Now Democratic President Barack Obama is in the White House. That means it’s probably a matter of time until Peterson is replaced.

Peterson spoke with The Associated Press recently about what he thinks he’s accomplished, political pressure and his future.

To Read More

The Latest on the Latest Bin Laden Tape

U.S. Border Patrol Kicking out the Jams — Or At Least Folk Songs

This is one of more innovative ideas to come along in a long time. Interesting, though the obvious question is: Is it effective?

By Ashley Surdin
Washington Post Staff Writer

To its arsenal of agents, fences and stealthy sensors skirting our nation’s southern border, the U.S. Border Patrol may soon add another weapon in the fight against illegal immigration: a follow-up album.

Yes, as in CD. With singers, guitars. Accordions.

In what may be among the lesser-known deterrents exercised by our nation’s security forces, the Border Patrol is deploying up-tempo Mexican folk songs about tragic border crossings to dissuade would-be illegal immigrants. The agency has paid — how much, it won’t say — a D.C.-based advertising company to write, record and distribute an album, “Migra Corridos,” to radio stations in Mexico. Its title, its makers say, is intended to mean “songs of the immigrant” but “migras” is commonly understood as a code word for Border Patrol in much of Mexico.

For Full Story

FBI Agents Give Up Digging For Mob Victims on Long Island

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After getting lucky last year and digging up the body of a mobster in East Farmingdale on Long Island, the FBI recently returned with excavation equipment to try its luck again.

Apparently luck wasn’t on the agents’ side this time.

After three days of digging this past week, the FBI mid-week gave up on trying to recover the bodies of two men believed to be victims of mob hits.

Newsday reported that the digging was the result of an informant’s tip that the area was used by the Colombo crime family in the 1990s as a mob cemetery. The paper reported that the informant said  three bodies were buried in the area.

FBI spokesman James Margolin told the paper that because one of the three bodies was recovered in October in the area: “We believe that the information was accurate.”

Margolin said it was unclear if digging would resume.

Investigators Use Phony Documents and Fool Passport and Postal Workers 4 Out of 4 Times

We assumed in the Post 9/11 era the government had taken security measures to assure we were safer. After reading this story ask yourself: Do I feel safer?

By EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – Using phony documents and the identities of a dead man and a 5-year-old boy, a government investigator obtained U.S. passports in a test of post-9/11 security. Despite efforts to boost passport security since the 2001 terror attacks, the investigator fooled passport and postal service employees four out of four times, according to a new report made public Friday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, details the ruses:

_One investigator used the Social Security number of a man who died in 1965, a fake New York birth certificate and a fake Florida driver’s license. He received a passport four days later.

_A second attempt had the investigator using a 5-year-old boy’s information but identifying himself as 53 years old on the passport application. He received that passport seven days later.

For Full Story

Seven Bodies Found in Mexico; Could be Drug Related

Authorities suspect these are drug related murders. The thing is, the drug wars in Mexico aren’t getting out of hand, they’re  already are out of hand and the U.S. needs to step it up and get involved before more and more of it spills over into the U.S.

By MARINA MONTEMAYOR
Associated Press Writer
PDT CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Police acting on a tip found seven bodies partially buried in the desert on the outskirts of the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, an official said Saturday.

Investigators are searching the desert site south of the city to see whether there are any more bodies.

An official with the state prosecutor’s office who declined to be named in line with department policy says a police officer’s badge was found at the site. Authorities were working to identify the bodies.

For Full Story