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FBI

Column: Retired FBI Agent Says Orleans Saints’ Bountygate Could be Prosecuted as a Conspiracy

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. This column also appeared in the New York Daily News.

Greg Stejskal

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

What if several executives of a multimilliondollar national corporation hatched a plan to pay bounties to its employees to deliberately injure key employees of competing corporations?

Then put the plan in action, actually disabling key employees, thereby affecting those corporations’ ability to compete. It clearly would be something that should be criminally prosecuted.

As you may have guessed, this is just a generic business- term description of the un-Saintly bounty scheme New Orleans was apparently running. There have been reports there may be criminal prosecutions pursued. Apparently the NFL Players Association has warned players involved that they may face criminal charges.

The Associated Press reported that “most legal scholars agree that prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute on-field sports activity,” said Gabriel Feldman, a sports law professor at Tulane. “They’re difficult cases to bring, because it’s hard to prove the injury was caused by a tackle with specific intent to injure, rather than a regular tackle.”

I would agree with the prosecutors’ reluctance to prosecute on-field activity, but criminal prosecution of the Saints’ pay-for-injury scheme would not necessarily entail proving much specific on-field activity.

Instead of charging individual incidents as though they were a series of assaults and batteries, a criminal conspiracy could be charged using federal criminal law. Under the so-called Hobbs Act (18 USC 1951), a racketeering statute, whoever conspires to commit physical violence to any person in furtherance of a plan or purpose which in anyway or degree effects commerce is in violation of the statute. Clearly the NFL and all of its teams are involved in interstate commerce.

Those teams’ primary purpose is to compete with the other teams in the NFL and win football games. Thus illegal activity that impedes or obstructs a team’s ability to compete is adversely affecting commerce.

The other question to be answered is, would a conspiracy rewarding intentionally injuring opposing players be criminal? Football is a violent game and “hard hits” are encouraged, but within the rules. Late hits, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct are proscribed by the rules. If the conspiracy encouraged hits, with the intent to cause injury regardless of whether the hit would or could result in a penalty, then it seems such conduct goes from being aggressive football to assault and battery under the guise of playing football.

The prosecution would not have to show specific injuries resulted from specific hits for which a bounty was paid. It need only show a conspiracy was formed to commit acts of illegal violence which affected interstate commerce. It now appears, like Watergate, there is compelling, recorded audio evidence of the conspiracy. Although I think this is viable prosecutorial theory, I’m not sure I would be enthusiastic about recommending or pursuing a criminal prosecution in Bountyate based on the facts that have been reported.

But I do have a concern. What if organized crime and professional gambling interests became aware of or participated in the pay-to-injure activities? (Who understands paying bounties for injuries better than the mob?) That would change the whole perspective. This is why it is important for the NFL to come down hard on the participants in Bountyate. The integrity of the game is at risk. The potential for criminal prosecution should not be dismissed, but rather held in abeyance.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI Hunting for Pimp Who Brags on Twitter

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Twitter has gotten high grades for helping promote revolutions and for helping communicate the news.

Here’s one of the uses that doesn’t get high grades.

The FBI is hunting for a Chicago native who pimps underage girls and brags about it on Twitter, The Smoking Gun website reports.

Authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Marquist Bradford, 26, who has been charged with sex trafficking of children by force, fraud, or coercion, The Smoking Gun site reports.

Bradford is described as a wannabe rapper.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

FBI’s Detroit Chief Andrew Arena Retiring to Go to Newly Formed Crime Commission

FBI's Andy Arena/ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Andrew Arena, a familiar fixture in Detroit law enforcement community, who oversaw some of the biggest public corruption probes in Detroit in recent times and other high profile cases including the “Underwear Bomber”, is retiring as head of the Detroit FBI.

The Detroit News reports that Arena will leave the bureau to become executive director of the newly formed Detroit Crime Commission.

The commission will help coordinate prosecutions through research, investigations, information and coordination of activities between business, government and law enforcement, the News reported.

“We are very pleased and excited Mr. Arena has decided to lead our organization. I think it speaks to his unwavering public service commitment to the Metropolitan area,” said Ron Reddy, the commission’s deputy director, in a prepared statement.

Arena, a Detroit native, has headed up the office since 2007.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Denies Russian Spy Was Getting Closer to Obama’s Inner Circle

Anna Chapman meeting with undercover FBI agent /fbi surveillance

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A controversy is brewing over the Russian spy ring the feds busted up in 2010.

USA Today reports that the FBI is denying a report that the feds shut down the probe into the spy ring because one of the spies, the glamorous Anna Chapman, was “edging closer to President Obama’s inner circle.”

The FBI denied that allegation in a report that a top counter intelligence official during a BBC interview made that suggestion.

USA TODAY reported that the FBI issued a statement on the matter: “Mr. Figliuzzi’s comments to BBC were consistent with and confined to the information outlined in the criminal complaint that was filed nearly two years ago. There is no allegation or suggestion in the complaint that Anna Chapman or anyone else associated with this investigation attempted to seduce a U.S. Cabinet official.”

Undercover FBI Agent Meeting With Chapman

FBI Posts Gotti Surveillance Film on 20 Year Anniverary of His Conviction

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Twenty years ago to this month, the feds finally nailed Godfather John Gotti, convicting him after several failed attempts.

As the FBI points out on its website, he was known as the “Dapper Don” for his nice threads and the “Teflon Don” for his ability to avoid convictions.

To commemorate the victory, the FBI has posted surveillance video of Gotti in the 1980s and 1990s.

Gotti died prison in 2002.

In the end, his son John (Junior) Gotti proved to be the Teflon Don. The feds failed to convict him on multiple charges after four times and finally gave up.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Diego Rodriguez Heading South to Take Charge of FBI’s Dallas Office

Diego Rodriguez/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Dallas FBI will have a new boss soon.

The FBI announced that Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in New York, will take over as the SAC in Dallas.

He’ll replace Robert Casey who will be retiring on April 30.

“I have the highest regard for Mr. Rodriguez,” Casey said of Rodriguez in a statement. ” I am confident that he has the experience and leadership qualities to ensure an effective role here in the Dallas office.”

The two served together in Miami and at headquarters.

Rodriguez will start in Dallas in the summer.

In his present post, Rodriguez is responsible for investigations including white-collar crimes, violent crimes and civil rights.

He started his career in 1990 in the New York division where he was SWAT team and the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

 

FBI Looking for Bank Robber Who Shot Cop With AK-47

FBI Asks Public to Return Cash From Bank Robbery; Guess What?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

This is an interesting test of human nature and honesty.

A bank robber stuck up the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Pembroke Pines, Fla., in the Ft. Lauderdale area on March 29, and as he took off on his motorcycle, cash spilled onto the road.  Some citizens, who obviously dislike litter, picked up the green paper money, NBC Miami reported.

Now, the FBI is asking that anyone who picked up the money return it.

Guess what? So far, no one has.