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May 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

LA U.S. Attorney Probing Cardinal in Connection to His Reponse to Child Molestations

Cardinal Roger Mahoney/cbs photo

Cardinal Roger Mahoney/cbs photo

Authorities are still looking for answers to what has clearly been one of the ugliest secrets in American religion. The question is: Who’s more guilty: The ones who committed sex crimes or the ones who covered them up or the ones who allowed them to continue?

By Scott Glover and Jack Leonard
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has launched a federal grand jury investigation into Cardinal Roger M. Mahony in connection with his response to the molestation of children by priests in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the case.
The probe, in which U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O’Brien is personally involved, is aimed at determining whether Mahony, and possibly other church leaders, committed fraud by failing to adequately deal with priests accused of sexually abusing children, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
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House Strengthens Whistleblower Law For Fed Employees Including TSA

Whistleblowers have exposed wrongdoing in government that inspector generals and the media have often missed. They need more protection. Too often they find themselves being punished for stepping forward.

By Jim Abrams
Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The House voted yesterday to strengthen whistleblower protections for federal employees, including those working for the Transportation Security Administration and others employed in national security areas.
The bill also would create specific protections for those who expose abuses of authority by those trying to manipulate or censor scientific research in federal agencies for political purposes. Critics of the administration of former president George W. Bush alleged that scientific findings were often influenced by politics.
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FBI and IRS Agents Raid Home in Slugger Barry Bonds Case

Trial is approaching and the feds are trying to put the hammer on Barry Bonds. Was the latest action a fishing expedition? We’ll soon find out when trial begins March 2 at 8:30  a.m.

Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO — Some 20 federal agents on Wednesday morning raided the home of the mother-in-law of Barry Bonds’ personal trainer Greg Anderson.
Madeleine Gestas and her daughter Nicole Anderson, the trainer’s wife, are the target of a tax investigation that Anderson’s lawyer said is aimed at pressuring the trainer to testify at Bonds’ upcoming perjury trial.
Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader and a seven-time MVP, has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.
“Even the mafia spares the women and children,” said attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Anderson.
Lead prosecutor Matthew Parrella didn’t immediately return a telephone call Wednesday.
Geragos said he believes the raid was in response to his refusal to tell prosecutors whether Anderson would testify. Geragos said he ignored a letter faxed to his Los Angeles office Monday by prosecutors that asked about Anderson’s plans for the Bonds’ trial.
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In Baltimore the Drug Trade Has Created an “Informal Economy”

A scene from The Wire that highlighted Baltimore's drug trade

A Baltimore drug scene in the HBO show The Wire

Like other major cities, Baltimore has a drug trade that generates impressive revenue. Fair to say, some of that money goes for cars and homes and jewelry and restaurants and expensive bottles of Moet champagne. In Baltimore, they call it the “Informal Economy.” Here is an examination of an urban phenomena we know so little about.

By Edward Ericson Jr.
Baltimore City Paper
BALTIMORE — On Oct. 20, 2008, Mayor Sheila Dixon stood on a makeshift stage in the parking lot of Northwood Plaza, just off Loch Raven Boulevard in the city’s Hillen neighborhood. Behind her sat several City Council members, a community activist, and the authors of the press conference’s subject, a 60-page study that, among other things, claimed to find $1.2 billion of additional spending money in the 13 city neighborhoods studied. Behind the stage, brightly-painted cars with expensive 22-inch chrome wheels cruised by noisily, and behind those, a long-shuttered anchor store slouched.

Former City Councilman Kenneth Harris was gunned down on Sept. 20, during an early morning robbery of the New Haven Lounge jazz club, a few hundred feet away. The murder–the city’s 158th last year–galvanized the community to push even harder for the redevelopment city officials believe will stifle and remove the violent crime that has plagued the surrounding blocks. The newly minted economic report, called the “Baltimore Neighborhood Market DrillDown,” was presented by the mayor as the evidence needed to convince national retailers that Baltimore City is underrated as a market. The key metric: $872 million of previously uncounted income from what the report calls the “informal economy.”

Presented by Social Compact, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that specializes in these studies, the DrillDown “validates what we already knew through intuition and observation,” Dixon said, “that Baltimore is a strong market.”

Yet “intuition and observation” have also told generations of Baltimoreans that the city is full of drugs, with perhaps 50,000 addicts served by thousands of street-corner drug dealers. It’s a substantial business, and not the kind of enterprise near which grocery store owners want to locate. So it is perhaps not surprising that DrillDown’s authors finesse the question of just how that $872 million of “informal” income is earned.

“We quantify the informal economy, but we don’t say what kind of jobs go into it,” says John Talmage, Social Compact’s president and CEO.

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Newest Disaster: Mississippi Mayor and Wife Indicted in Katrina Fraud

Mayor Brent Warr/city photo

Mayor Brent Warr/city photo

Meet the latest public corruption case. Sadly this one involved Katrina funds. Sadly there are no limits to greed.

By Chris Joyner
Jackson Clarion Ledger
JACKSON, Miss — Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and his wife, Laura Jean Warr, have been indicted today on 16 counts of Katrina fraud, including charges they stole federal funds, filed false disaster assistance claims and committed insurance fraud.
If convicted on all counts, the Warrs could face decades in federal prison and up to $4 million in fines. Both have been released on bond and given an April 6 trial date.
The investigation was conducted by the inspectors general of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Housing and Urban Department and the State Auditor’s Katrina Fraud Task Force.
State Auditor Stacey Pickering said the case is similar to more than two dozen indictments handed down on prior Katrina-related fraud cases.
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Man Hanged Self In Va. Jail Hours Before Pleading in Fed Court to Child Porn Charges

Don Douglas was just one of the scores of people nationwide facing child pornography charges. The Internet has opened opportunties never seen before.

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A 40-year-old Springfield man killed himself just hours before he was scheduled to plead guilty in federal court on child pornography charges, sheriff’s officials said today.
Don Douglas was discovered by guards during a routine check Jan. 12. He had hanged himself in the shower and was pronounced dead at Inova Alexandria Hospital after efforts to revive him failed, sheriff’s officials said.
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A Detroit Reporter Comments on a Colleague’s Refusal to Disclose Federal Sources

In Detroit, a battle has been simmering between a former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Ashenfelter. Convertino wants to know who leaked information about him to Ashenfelter, who is now taking the Fifth.

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

By Sandra Svoboda
News Hits staff/Detroit Metro Times
DETROIT — Let’s get this out right from the start: News Hits has a hard time being even close to objective when it comes to covering the legal tussle going on between Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter and former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino.
We don’t like to see good journalists called criminals for essentially doing their jobs. If reporters routinely fear prosecution for providing an otherwise absent watchdog role over government, everyone suffers.
Think Kwame Kilpatrick.
But part of us does understand Convertino’s position of wanting the truth to come out relevant to his personal lawsuit against the government. We’ve seen the movie Absence of Malice many times, and get the concept of unnamed government officials unscrupulously using the press as a weapon against someone they’re out to get.
We also understand how frustrating it can be for the aggrieved person trying to find out exactly who leaked the tar so that they can be held accountable. All of which is part of the reason we find the case fascinating.
Convertino, now in private practice in Plymouth, has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against his former employer, the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other things, Convertino claims an unnamed official illegally gave Ashenfelter information for a 2004 article about the department investigating Convertino’s handling of a high-profile terrorism trial.
Convertino also claims he was punished for complaining – to Congress, in fact – about a lack of resources to fight terrorism.

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Sen. Judiciary Confirms Holder 17-2; Next Stop: Full Senate Where It Looks Like a Sure Thing

In the end, the judiciary vote was pretty overwhelming. But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex) was in the minority, delivering some stinging remarks about Holder.

By Randall Mikkelsen
Eric Holder Jr.

Eric Holder Jr.

WASHINGTON – A Senate committee voted to approve Eric Holder to be the first black attorney general, sending his nomination on Wednesday to the full Senate, which is expected to confirm him.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 to confirm President Barack Obama’s nomination of Holder, a deputy attorney general under former President Bill Clinton. Holder had faced questions over his record, including his support for controversial pardons issued by Clinton, and Republicans had delayed the vote for a week until Wednesday.
“Eric Holder is a good man. He’s a decent man. He’s a public servant committed to the rule of law and he will be a good attorney general,” committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said before the vote.
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Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sen. Herb Kohl
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Russ Feingold
Sen. John Cornyn
Sen. Edward Kaufman