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Here We Go Again: Ill. State Lawmakers Call for Criminal Perjury Probe into Sen. Roland Burris

Just when you thought the dust has settled for the time being.

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND DAVE MCKINNEY
Chicago Sun-Times

State lawmakers are calling for a criminal investigation into whether U.S. Sen. Roland Burris committed perjury before a state impeachment panel, in the wake of a Sun-Times exclusive story published online today.
The development comes after the Chicago Democrat failed to initially disclose under oath to a House panel that he was hit up for campaign cash by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother.
State Rep. James Durkin (R-Western Springs) said Saturday that the Sangamon County state prosecutor’s office will be asked to review Burris’ Jan. 8 sworn testimony before the House panel to determine whether Burris (D-Chicago) perjured himself.
“I don’t trust anything that comes out of Roland Burris’ mouth or from his pen,” Durkin said.
“We had a major league situation facing us. This is a United States senate seat that came under the most clouded of circumstances,” Durkin said. “This is supposed to be about the year of reform this is about ethics and about transparency.”

For Full Story

Slice of History: Nixon Talks to Atty. Gen. Mitchell About Pentagon Papers and Hoover

Former Secret Service Agent Jon MacDonald to Be Inducted into Maine Sports Hall of Fame

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Jon MacDonald, a former U.S. Secret Service aqent, will  be among nine people inducted into the Maine  Sports Hall of Fame on May 31, the Maine Sunday Telegram reported.
MacDonald played basketball, football (four years as quarterback) and baseball (four years as shortstop) at Stearns High School in Millinocket, Maine, the paper reported.
As a guard on the basketball team, he scored 1,223 points and was selected to the Parade magazine All-American high school basketball team. He earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland, where he was co-captain of the team in 1969.
MacDonald served all around the country as an agent for the Secret Service from 1970 to 1990. In 2006, he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame at the University of Rhode Island.

Negotiations May Clear a Path for Karl Rove to Testify Before Congress

Karl Rove

Karl Rove

Congress is salivating at the thought of getting Karl Rove to testify on the firings of 9 U.S. Attorneys. It looks like it may happen.
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — White House lawyers and representatives for former president George W. Bush are engaged in discussions that could clear a path for congressional testimony by onetime Bush aide Karl Rove, three sources familiar with the talks said yesterday.
Word of the negotiations came on the same day that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) issued Rove a fresh subpoena regarding his role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, allegedly for political reasons.
Rove has deflected congressional demands for information about the dismissals by citing executive privilege and instructions from Bush. But Democrats say President Obama’s view of the matter may open the door for Rove’s eventual appearance on Capitol Hill.
“I believe that continued defiance of the subpoena is even less tenable in light of the fact that Mr. Rove is now the former adviser to a former president,” Conyers wrote yesterday in a letter to Rove’s attorney, Robert D. Luskin.
For Full Story

Ex-ICE Agent Who Served in Venezuela Gets 7 1/2 Years For Bribes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Gerardo Chavez knew how to get coveted posts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was a special supervisory special agent and attaché in Caracas, Venezuela.
He also knew how to make money illegally.
On Friday a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., sentenced him to 7 ½ years in prison for taking kickbacks for a no-bid U.S. government contract for defective armor 4-wheel drive vehicles in South America and the Carribean .
According to court documents, Chavez, 46, of Clifton, Va., served in Venezuela from 2003 to 2007.
During that period, he used his position to steer $2.8 million in “sole source U.S. Government contracts” to a Caracas-based firm Blincar for the armored vehicles, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. In turn, he got a $172,000 kickback from the owner of Blincar and was hoping to get $87,000 more before the crime was uncovered by the FBI and Homeland Security, authorities said.
The FBI eventually conducted ballistic tests on the armored cars and found the armoring to be defective, authorities charged. Consequently, the government said, 45 armored vehicles were replaced at a cost of more than $5 million.
Authorities said that in addition to the kickbacks, Chavez also received about $250,000 in unreported funds outside of his salary.
He wired that money and the kickback funds to California in his brother-in-laws’s name to purchase and remodel a home in Clifton, Va., authorities alleged.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Arrest More than a Dozen Mexican Mafia Gang Members in San Diego Area

Mexican Mafia art and tattoos/az dept. of corrections
Mexican Mafia art and tattoos/az dept. of corrections

Usually the word “Mafia” is a good indication that a group is up to no good. The Mexican Mafia has been up to a lot of no good over a good period of time, authorities say.

By Angelica Martinez
San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN DIEGO — More than a dozen gang members connected to the Mexican Mafia prison gang were arrested early Friday and accused of attempted murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking in San Diego County, authorities said.
Officials have charged 40 people – 17 of whom were arrested early Friday – in connection with the nearly year long investigation, dubbed “Operation Keys to the City”, that targeted the notorious prison gang, officials said at an afternoon news conference downtown.
Two criminal complaints charge 36 defendants with federal racketeering, firearm offenses and drug trafficking violations.
U.S. Attorney General Karen Hewitt described the Mexican Mafia and its connection to Latino street gangs as a rigid hierarchy comprised of “members”, “associates” and “soldiers” whose criminal enterprise spills into the community.
Some of the alleged crimes involved paying “taxes”, which officials say is the term used by gang members who use violent acts to extort payments from victims.
For Full Story

Federal Judge Holds Justice Lawyers in Contempt in Sen. Stevens Case

Judge Emmet Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet Sullivan/court photo

It was just a matter of time before this happened. The prosecution has had one misstep after another during and after the trial.

By ERIKA BOLSTAD
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON — The judge who oversaw Ted Stevens’ corruption trial on Friday held in contempt four Justice Department prosecutors for failing to turn over documents to the former U.S. senator’s lawyers.
Calling their conduct “outrageous” as employees of “the largest law firm on the planet,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told the Justice Department attorneys Friday afternoon that they must give the documents to Stevens’ legal team by 5 p.m.
Later in the afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department sent out an announcement saying, “The Government has complied with the court’s order and produced to defense counsel the documents discussed at today’s hearing. We will continue to litigate in court matters related to the jury’s conviction of Senator Stevens.”
The judge said he wasn’t going to address on Friday what sort of penalties the contempt citing will have for the Justice Department lawyers. They include the head of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, William Welch; the lead trial attorney in the case, Brenda Morris; the attorney who was handling the work product question within the Justice Department, Kevin Driscoll; and the chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal appeals section, Patty Merkamp Stemler.
Sullivan told them he would address the questions of sanctions when the case concludes.
For Full Story

Two Pa. Judges Plead Guilty in Bribery-Juvenile Justice Scandal