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Birmingham, Ala. Mayor Indicted on Corruption Charges

The mayor of Detroit is currently behind bars. Could Birmingham’s mayor be far behind?

By Charles J. Dean
Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -Over an almost five-year period, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford “corruptly solicited, accepted and agreed to accept money, cash and checks” totaling nearly $250,000 in return for funneling millions of county taxpayer dollars to two political allies, prosecutors allege in a 101-count federal indictment unsealed today.
The indictment charges Langford, along with friends Bill Blount and Al LaPierre, with conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
The charges stem from a long-running federal investigation surrounding bond deals that were at the center of Jefferson County’s upgrade of its sewer system, deals that have left the county billions of dollars in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.
For Full Story

Read Indictment

Ex-FBI Agent Mike Mason Says Rumors of Him Taking Over FBI Are Ridiculous

Mike Mason/fbi photo

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Under the category of “you’ve got to be kidding me” rumors, comes the latest: former FBI agent Michael Mason is being considered to take over as director of the FBI.
On Monday afternoon, Mason told ticklethewire.com that the rumor was ridiculous. He said he’s happy as director of security for Verizon where he’s said to be making big big bucks. (He’s got two kids he needs to put through college).
“This is the first I’ve heard of this,” he said. “I don’t have any interest in the position.”
He said he’s a big fan of director Robert Mueller III and hopes he “does what he said he was going to do and serves the whole term.”
Mason, a 23-year veteran of the bureau, stepped down as executive assistant director of the criminal branch in December 2007 to take the job at Verizon.
Eric Holder, who is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for Attorney General, could not be reached Monday for comment.

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Atty. Gen. Candidate Eric Holder Considered High Achiever in Life

In Washington there are plenty agents and prosecutors who have good things to say about Eric Holder. But some Congressional members might rough him up a little during the confirmation hearings over his role in the pardon of Marc Rich during the Clinton regime.

By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ
New York Times

Nine-year-old Eric Holder sat in the basement of his family’s house in Queens, enraptured by the inaugural words of the fresh-faced president from Massachusetts. The broadcast on the tiny television set faded in and out, muffled by the steady roar of jetliners at nearby La Guardia Airport, but John F. Kennedy’s call for hope and change was enough to stir the boy’s desire to serve.
By ninth grade, Ricky, as he was known to his friends, was standing before his peers in the auditorium making his case for student body president. In high school, towering above his classmates and teachers at 6 feet 3 inches tall, he passionately debated how to rid African-Americans of their second-class status.
Now, four decades later, Eric Himpton Holder Jr., 57, the Bronx-born son of Miriam, an Episcopal church secretary from New Jersey, and Eric Sr., a real estate broker from Barbados, is expected to be nominated on Monday by President-elect Barack Obama to become the attorney general of the United States. He would be the first black person to do so.
For Full Story

Read Washington Post Editorial on What the Next A.G. Must Do

Muslim-Americans in Detroit Area Have Concerns About New FBI Powers

In an area known for its large Arab population, any rules giving the FBI more power has always raised concerns. Here’s the latest.

By Niraj Wariko
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Beginning Monday, the FBI will get increased power to investigate suspected terrorists under revised administrative guidelines that some Muslim Americans and civil rights advocates in metro Detroit are concerned may target innocent people.
The new Justice Department guidelines will allow FBI agents, for the first time in terrorism-related cases, to use undercover sources to gather information in preliminary probes, interview people without identifying who they are and spy on suspects without first getting clear evidence of wrongdoing.
They’re the most significant changes the Bush administration has made since 2003 to rules that govern security investigations in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

The FBI and the Corruption Eradication Commission in Indonesia Sign Pact For Technical Cooperation (Jakarta Post)

Mexican Drug Cartels Turning To Houston Area for Guns

As the drug wars in Mexico escalate, Americans in the Houston area are profiting from the insatiable appetite for guns.

By Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Drug cartel gangsters waging a criminal insurgency against Mexican society and government are making the Houston area their marketplace of choice, as they spend millions of dollars statewide buying military-style weapons and ammunition.
Gangsters have honed in on this city because of its glut of gun shops, its proximity to the border, and its long-established networks for smuggling narcotics into the United States, federal law-enforcement officials said.
The surge in fraudulent purchases comes as more than 4,000 people have died in Mexico’s criminal underworld violence this year.
Authorities can point to numerous crimes, including the infamous 2007 Acapulco Massacre to illustrate the carnage brought on by Houston-bought guns that have gotten into the hands of ruthless killers.
For Full Story

Rep. Jefferson Heads into Election With FBI Case Hanging Over His Head and No Trial Date in Sight

Rep. William Jefferson/official photo

Rep. William Jefferson/official photo

For the second time in a row, Rep. William Jefferson heads into the general election with public corruption allegations hanging over his head. Luckily for him, there’s no trial date in sight and he seems to have a loyal voter base. There’s a good possibility he could emerge victorious again.  Before long, we’ll know for sure.

By Bruce Alpert
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON– More than 39 months after FBI agents raided his home and found $90,000 stuffed in his freezer, Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, still is without a firm date for a corruption trial that could derail his political career even if voters give him a 10th term in Congress Dec. 6.
His trial, which had been slated to begin last February and then was rescheduled for Dec. 2, four days before his general election, is now likely to be put off until early 2009, at the earliest. The delays were brought about by the slow pace of the legal system and the thorny legal issues generated by a case with so many judicial firsts and legal precedents that it likely will be studied by legal scholars for decades.
Jefferson, who easily beat former TV anchor Helena Moreno to win the Democratic primary on Nov. 4, rates as a heavy favorite over his four challengers, including Republican political neophyte Anh “Joseph” Cao, in the Dec. 6 general election.
For Full Story

Trial Begins Monday in Bank Robbery That Resulted in Death of an FBI Agent

Robbing banks can be deadly business. An FBI agent was killed during one of those robberies last year in New Jersey — unfortunately by a fellow agent. The trial begins Monday.

By David Porter
Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. – Three men authorities say formed a bank robbery ring in central New Jersey _ including one who allegedly told investigators he became “addicted” to robbing banks _ are scheduled to go on trial Monday for a string of robberies that culminated in the shooting death of an FBI agent last year.
Wilfredo Berrios, Efrain Lynn and Francisco Herrera-Genao, all in their 20s and from New Brunswick, face a litany of armed robbery and weapons counts that could carry maximum combined sentences of more than 100 years. A fourth suspect, Michael Cruz, pleaded guilty in January and is expected to testify for the government.
None of the men is charged with causing the death of FBI agent Barry Lee Bush, who was shot and killed by another agent who mistook him for a suspect during the confusion outside the PNC Bank in Readington, Hunterdon County, on April 5, 2007.
However, U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson can take Bush’s death into account at sentencing if the men are convicted.
For Full Story

Read Indictment

Ex-FBI Agent Talks About Use of Torture To Get Info

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