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U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Refutes Defense Claim That He Should Be Taken off Gov. Blagojevich Case

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

One thing U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald is known for: not walking away from a battle. Here’s the latest salvo in the Gov. Blagojevich case.

By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — Federal prosecutors fired back Thursday at defense claims that U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s comments at a news conference were so strongly worded that he should be taken off the fraud case against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Fitzgerald said in announcing charges against Blagojevich and former chief of staff John Harris on Dec. 9 the two men had been on “a political corruption crime spree” and their actions would make “Lincoln roll over in his grave.”
Defense attorneys have asked Chief Judge James F. Holderman of the U.S. District Court to take Fitzgerald off the case, saying the comments were so far over the line that they were guaranteed to generate prejudicial publicity before the trial.
Fitzgerald’s office said in court papers filed Thursday his comments were not improper and “served as a means of energizing and mobilizing the community to take action to thwart or deter public corruption.”

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Feds Say White Supremacist Hate Talk Out There About Obama Inauguration

With an event of this magnitude, you can never underestimate potential problems. And one of those potential problems is the white supremacists, who have been spewing hate ever since Obama launched his presidential campaign. Inauguration or not, that isn’t expected to change anytime soon.

By Richard Sisk and James Gordon Meek
New York Daily News
Washington — Federal agents are on “a higher state of alert” because of hate talk by white supremacists about Barack Obama’s inauguration, officials told the Daily News on Tuesday.
“That chatter is out there, no doubt about it,” one senior FBI agent in Washington said this afternoon, adding that no credible plots against the 56th Presidential Inauguration have been detected.
The Bureau has ordered agents in all 56 field offices to “shake the trees” in advance of the Jan. 20 swearing-in of the 44th President, who will become the first African-American to occupy the Oval Office.
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Pittsburgh FBI Agent Tells of His Stint in Afghanistan to Crack Down on Contractor Fraud

Jeff Killeen is just one of the many FBI agents who have played an increasing roll in the world for the U.S. in the post-9/11 era. He went there to help crack down on fraud committed by U.S. and Afghani contractors.

By Torsten Ove
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PITTSBURGH — Home from what he calls the “wilds” of Afghanistan, Pittsburgh FBI Chief Division Counsel Jeff Killeen climbed into a colleague’s car at the airport for the ride to the South Side office.
As Agent Bill Crowley drove, he noticed something different about his friend.
In addition to being 10 pounds lighter, Agent Killeen was a bit twitchy, glancing over his right shoulder and looking out the window as if he expected to see something bad.
Turns out he was.
Out of reflex, he was checking for suicide car bombers — the main threat to any American on the chaotic roads of Kabul.
“Crowley said that I was ‘on edge,’ ” said Agent Killeen, 56. “You’re constantly looking for threats over there.”
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Sen. Specter Presses Eric Holder on Marc Rich Pardon

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_f7DNhHSRA

Ex-Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Gets 40 Years in 1982 Mob Murder

The mob and the Boston FBI had a toxic relationship. This was just another story in that sad chapter. But this tale may not be over. Connolly could still go free on a successful appeal, which he seems to have a shot at.

BY DAVID OVALLE
Miami Herald
John Connolly/wbztv

John Connolly/wbztv

MIAMI — Disgraced FBI agent John Connolly must serve 40 years in prison for the 1982 murder of a one-time gambling executive, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Thursday.
But Circuit Judge Stanford Blake left the door open to the conviction being tossed out by an appeal court later, agreeing with defense attorneys that the statute of limitations had run out for the murder.
However, Blake refused to toss Connolly’s conviction because the ex-agent’s lawyers waited too long to file their motion.
Defense attorney Manny Casabielle proclaimed Connolly a “free man.”
”There is no doubt that John has won,” Casabielle said.
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Justice Says Missing White House Emails Found

Funny how those emails seemed to turn up just at the right time.

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge yesterday that the Bush administration will meet its legal requirement to transfer e-mails to the National Archives after spending more than $10 million to locate 14 million e-mails reported missing four years ago from White House computer files.
Civil division trial lawyer Helen H. Hong made the disclosure at a court hearing provoked by a 2007 lawsuit filed by outside groups to ensure that politically significant records created by the White House are not destroyed or removed before President Bush leaves office at noon on Tuesday. She said the department plans to argue in a court filing this week that the administration’s successful recent search renders the lawsuit moot.
Hong’s statement came hours after U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered employees of the president’s executive office — with just days to go before their departure — to undertake a comprehensive search of computer workstations, preserve portable hard drives and examine any e-mail archives created or retained from 2003 to 2005, the period in which e-mails appeared to be missing.
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Holder Strategy Becomes Clear as His Senate Confirmation Hearing Begins

Eric Holdler/msnbc
Eric Holder/msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yes, Eric H. Holder Jr. messed up, Yes he intends to be an INDEPENDENT  Attorney General, and Yes Yes Yes, the Marc Rich pardon was a BIG  BIG mistake, and Yes he would have done things differently now.
With his family and former FBI director Louis Freeh sitting behind him, Holder gave a brief speech as his Senate confirmation hearing began Thursday morning.
In all, the strategy of Holder and his supporters became quite evident at the onset: Emphasize his competence and integrity and admit that he made mistakes in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich when he was deputy Attorney General under President Clinton.
Former Sen. John Warner,  a well respected senator,  did just that, testifying this morning in favor Holder’s confirmation. He praised Holder, but said:
“Mr. Chairman, Eric Holder would be the first to say  that his career was marked by certain  misjudgments. He freely acknowledges that….but the key to this man is that he learned from those experiences. He learned in such a way that those misjudgments will not be repeated.”
Then Holder himself talked about Marc Rich and told the committee:
“I’ve accepted the responsibility of making those  mistakes. I never tried to hide, I never tried to blame anybody else.” He said he should have kept prosecutors on the case informed of what was going  on.
“I should have not spoken to the White House and expressed an opinion without knowing all of the facts in regards to that matter.”,
“I learned from that experience..I will be a better attorney general should I be confirmed, having had the Marc Rich experience.”
Sen. Arlen Specter, one of his more vocal critics in recent weeks, asked some tough questions about Rich.
But so far, it’s likely the mea culpa strategy coupled by emphasis on competence and integrity is likely to work.

Latest Bomb in Stevens Case: Judge Accuses Government of Misleading Him and Orders Atty. Gen. Mukasey to Sign Declaration Under Oath and Turn Over Documents

By Allan Lengel
tickethwire.com

In the latest explosive turn, the federal judge in the former Sen. Ted Stevens trial on Wednesday accused the government of misleading him about an FBI agent who filed a complaint about government misconduct in the case.
U.S District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan , in court papers filed Wednesday in Washington, essentially accused the government of misleading him about the “whistle blower status” of the agent Chad Joy, to prevent or limit the agent’s complaints from being made public and to keep his identity under wraps as long as possible.
Sullivan  (in photo) ordered Atty. General Michael Mukasey to turn over by Friday all relevant documents pertaining to Joy’s whistleblower status.
Stevens was convicted in October, but has asked for a new trial or that the case be dismissed based on allegations of government misconduct.
Agent Chad Joy’s name was first revealed Wednesday.  An investigator in the case, he has alleged government misconduct and has accused the lead FBI investigator Mary  Beth Kepner of having inappropriate relations with witnesses, using a source to help her husband get a job, leaking information about the case, accepting gifts from sources, meeting a government witness in her D.C. hotel room and disclosing to that witness the name of someone who testified before the grand jury.
According to the judge’s court papers, on Dec. 11, the government filed a motion to seal a “self-styled whistleblower” complaint it had received agent Chad Joy in the Stevens case. The defense soon objected to the document being sealed.
The government countered, arguing “strenuously” that the FBI agent’s complaint should not be made public based on the agent’s whistleblower status and privacy considerations. Such status gives government employees certain protections when they come forward with information about wrongdoing.

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