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FBI

Texas Man Busted for Shining Laser on FBI Plane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Note to Sammy Ladymon: Find a new hobby.

The 45-year-old Garland, Tex. man was arrested Thursday night after getting caught pointing a laser at an FBI aircraft that was hovering above, NBC DFW reported.

The station reported that the FBI pilot flew over the area in response to complaints from pilots of a bright light.

When an FBI was directed to Ladymon’s home, they found him still pointing the laser at the FBI plane.

The station reported that he faces a misdemeanor charge of illumination of aircraft by intense light.

Prosecutor to Blago: “You Are a Convicted Liar, Correct?”

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Loaded for bear, federal prosecutors began their cross examination Thursday of the ever-chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich with a very blunt question.

“Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted liar, correct?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar asked, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Yes,” answered Blagojevich, according to the Trib. His lawyers tried to object.

The question was in reference to his first trial in which prosecutors convicted him on only 1 of 24 counts — lying to the FBI. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 23 counts.

Prosecutors on Thursday tried to portray Blago as a slippery sort, the Trib reported.

To read more click here.

Tough Az. Sheriff Joe Bows to Justice Department

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Score: Justice Department 1, Maricopa County, Az.,  Sheriff Joe Arpaio 0.

Sheriff Joe and his department, after much resistance, entered into a legal settlement Thursday to fully cooperate with the Justice Department, which is investigating allegations of civil rights violations involving patrols and jail operations.

In announcing the settlement, the Justice Department said that the sheriff’s department had already allowed it to conduct more than 220 interviews and review hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. It also conducted interviews with Sheriff Arpaio. The investigation is ongoing.

The Justice Department has been investigating allegations of discrimination on patrols and in jail and unconstitutional searches and seizures.

Last Sept. 2, the Justice Department said it filed a lawsuit to get access to information “after exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access” to documents and facilities.

“After numerous requests for access to information, the department was forced to resort to litigation to compel the sheriff’s office to provide us with full access to facilities, staff and documents, as required by federal law,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

“We are pleased that since the filing of our lawsuit, the sheriff’s office has reversed course and provided the department with information we have been seeking.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judge Orders Feds to Turn Over FBI Recorder and Failed Battery in Portland Terrorism Case

Mohamed Mohamud

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Portland prosecutors in the 2010 attempted bombing of a Christmas tree lighting ceremony to hand over a  faulty FBI battery and recording device used in the case, The Oregonian newspaper reported.

The prosecution said it already had turned over 6,000 pages of documents.

The defense team for  Mohamed Mohamud,  the Somali-American teenager, claims its client was entrapped by the FBI in a sting.  The defense claims he was coaxed into the plot.

The defense is focusing on the recorder and the battery that failed to record a key meeting last July 30 when Mohamud allegedly brought up taking part in the bombing with an FBI operative posing as an Islamic terrorist, the Oregonian reported.  The failure could give the defense more wiggle room to interpret the conversation without the recording.

The Oregonian reported that prosecutors said the recorder failed because the battery had died before the meeting.  FBI agents did, however, listen to the tape and later write up a  report on what they heard, the paper reported.

Mohamud’s lawyer Stephen R. Sady told the judge he wanted an expert to examine the recorder and battery.

To read more click here.

Ky. FBI Agent Who Headed Up Major Corruption Case Dies of Heart Attack While Jogging

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 46-year-old FBI agent, who headed a major corruption probe in Clay County, Ky., died Tuesday from an apparent heart attack while jogging, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The paper reported that Timothy S. Briggs, 46, who had been an agent since 1997, suffered the heart attack while jogging with another agent Tuesday near the FBI office in London, Ky.

The paper reported that the agent who was jogging with Briggs and another person, and later emergency personnel and doctors, tried CPR on Briggs, but to no avail.

“He had a tenacity about him that not a lot of investigators have,” fellow agent Greg Cox told the paper. “He would never let go.”

The paper reported that Briggs headed up a corruption probe in Clay County that started with a drug investigation and snow balled into a case involving vote-buying and other public corruption. More than 60 people were convicted.

Atty. Gen. Holder Proposes Retroactive Breaks in Crack Cocaine Convictions

file photo/doj

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.  on Wednesday  revisited a controversial subject Congress remedied last year by changing the disproportionate sentences between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. Lawmakers stopped short of making the law retroactive.

Enter Holder.

Holder appeared before the U.S. Sentencing Commission and urged that the law be made retroactive. He did not advocate retroactivity for those whose crimes involved guns or who have long rap sheets.

The Los Angeles Times reported that thousands of federal prisoners could have an average of three years shaved off their prison terms under Holder’s proposal.

Congress last year changed the law , which critics say unfairly targeted African Americans. Under the 1986 law, a person selling crack got the same sentence as someone selling 100 times the amount of powdered cocaine. The ratio was changed to 18 to 1.

The LA Times reported that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was “disappointed by the Obama administration’s position” on early releases for drug offenders and might move for Congressional action if the U.S. Sentencing Commission makes the change.

“It shows they are more concerned with the well-being of criminals than with the safety of our communities.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) called it a “bad idea.”

“There is simply no just or logical reason why their punishments should be dramatically more severe than those of other cocaine offenders,” Holder testified.

“As a federal prosecutor and as Attorney General – and as a former judge, United States Attorney, and Deputy Attorney General – this issue is deeply personal to me,” Holder said.

“While serving on the bench, here in Washington, D.C., in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, I saw the devastating effects of illegal drugs on families, communities, and individual lives.

“I know what it is like to sentence young offenders to long prison terms, and I did so to protect the public from those who were serious threats and who had engaged in violence. However, throughout my tenure as this city’s U.S. Attorney, I also saw that our federal crack sentencing laws did not achieve that result.”

“Our drug laws were not perceived as fair and our law enforcement efforts suffered as a result. That is why it was a special privilege for me to stand with President Obama when he signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law. And that is why I feel compelled to be here in person today, to join my colleagues in calling for the retroactive application of the guideline amendment.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

SEC Lawyer Revealed Identity of FBI Informant, IG Says

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Inspector General for the Securities and Exchange Commission discovered a big no no: A lawyer for the SEC allegedly disclosed the name of a confidential source in an FBI probe to a witness in the case, the Washington Post reported.

The Post’s David Hilzenrath reports that a SEC lawyer also disclosed that the informant was recording conversations for the government.

That information was included in a report to Congress submitted by the Inspector General.

To read the full story click here.

Eastern European Mob #1 Priority for FBI in South Fla.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

South Florida isn’t just the home of  white belts, white shoes, early bird specials and transplanted New York mobsters.

The Miami Herald reports that the Eastern European mob has become a big concern for the FBI — bigger than the Italian mafia.

“Eurasian organized crime is our No. 1 priority,” FBI supervisory special agent Rick Brodsky of the Miami office told the paper.

To read the full story click here.