Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2021
S M T W T F S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



FBI

Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade: We Expected Some Ridicule From the Dig For Jimmy Hoffa

Featured_mcquade3_6597U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Things haven’t been dull for Barbara McQuade.

Right after being sworn in as the Detroit U.S. Attorney in January 2010, she started dealing with the “Underwear Bomber” case involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate an explosive aboard a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas day.

Later that year, her office indicted ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

This year, her staff scored a major victory, convicting Kilpatrick, his buddy Bobby Ferguson and his dad Bernard Kilpatrick.  She was involved in the decision that lead to the FBI digging for Jimmy Hoffa in June. And her prosecutors continue to investigate corruption in Wayne County government.

In a wide-ranging interview, McQuade, who has been a prosecutor in the office for 15 years,  sat down with Deadline Detroit to talk about public corruption, terrorism,  Hezbollah’s links to Metro Detroit,  Kwame Kilpatrick’s upcoming sentencing, the Hoffa mystery, the credibility of ex-mobster Tony Zerilli who provided the latest tip as to Hoffa’s whereabouts, and what went into the decision to dig for the legendary union leader recently in Oakland Township.

“We knew there’d be some ridicule, like ‘Oh my gosh, they’re digging for Hoffa again,” she says.

The following interview was condensed and the questions were edited for clarity.

DD: Can we expect more indictments out of City Hall?

McQuade: I don’t know about city hall per se. I guess I wouldn’t want to comment on that. The pension fund case is pending and we’ll go to trial early part of next year. It’s no secret that we’re currently investigating Wayne County government because that has all been very public despite our efforts to do our best make sure we protect the integrity of people involved in that investigation. I think there have been six defendants convicted to date in that investigation.

DD: I noticed in the paper that former U.S. Attorney Jeff Collins, who works for Bob Ficano, has asked you for a letter for Ficano saying he’s not a target of the investigation. Apparently he’s not gotten one. Is there a reason not to issue a letter?

McQuade: I don’t want to comment on that other than we are investigating all aspects of Wayne County and we don’t know yet where the evidence may lead us. So people should not infer anything positive or negative from that.

DD:  It’s unusual for a federal judge to detain a defendant in a white collar case before sentencing. Were you surprised Judge Nancy Edmunds detained Kwame Kilpatrick?

McQuade: We thought we had a reasonable chance of that outcome.  I don’t know I expected that outcome. I wasn’t stunned in light of the history he had in the state court with flouting court orders.

DD: Have you seen that before in a white collar case?

McQuade: From time to time people get detained in white collar cases. I agree with you that it is more rare. There was no argument that he was a danger to the community and more often, those are the kind of defendants who get detained.  This was more along the lines of risk of flight and a history of not complying with court orders.

DD: How involved was the Justice Department with the Kwame case and how worried were they about pulling the trigger and indicting?

McQuade: Not much at all.  The Justice Department does get involved in certain kinds of cases with national implications. For example, the Abdulatalab case (Underwear Bomber), which was an international terrorism case. They were very involved in that and wanted to be kept apprised at every step of the way and we needed approval from them every step of the way.  The Kilpatrick case much less so. Really we were notifying them of significant events in that case.  But other than that, they really let us run that case on our own.

Featured_22_33_49_874_bernard_kilpatrickBernard Kilpatrick

DD: You indicted Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame’s dad, who worked as a business consultant for city contractors. I know prosecutors sometimes worry the jury might be more sympathetic when they see a family unit on trial.  Was that something that was debated?

McQuade: I guess I don’t want to talk about specifics of what we debated. But you’re absolutely right that those are always the kinds of things that you think about: How does this affect the jury’s perception of the case? Are we overreaching in any way? But we felt very strongly about charging Bernard Kilpatrick because we thought the evidence against him was very strong. Ultimately, the jury was hung on him with respect to RICO charges but did convict him of the tax charges. There was wire tap evidence, video evidence, that we thought was very strong that (showed) he was just not a participant but a leader in this activity.

DD: Do you think in his case or others the laws involving lobbying and consulting are too vague?

McQuade: Well, sometimes the lines are unclear about what is permitted and what is not permitted. But the evidence we thought in this case was very strong that there was no gray matter, that this was misconduct. But as I said, reasonable minds can disagree.

DD: A lot of people were happy to see the indictment, but some supporters of his  wondered if it was racially motivated. Did you feel pressure if he walked that it would bolster his cries of racism?

McQuade: I wasn’t worried about it. Defendants always have some argument about why they’re being unfairly targeted.  That’s a fairly common tactic. Certainly it was an important case for the city of Detroit. And so we did feel strongly and had great hopes the jury would see it our way and convict him.  If he had not been held accountable I think it would have sent a terrible message to the entire city of Detroit and the entire community.

To read full interview click here.

South Shore Businessman Testified That ‘Whitey’ Bulger Forced Him to Pay Friend’s $300,000 Debt

 

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just weeks after his friend was killed in 1982, a South Shore businessman came face-to-face with James “Whitey” Bulger.

Michael Solimando testified in the racketeering and murder trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, saying the accused mobster ordered him at gunpoint to pay his friend’s $400,000 outstanding debt, the Boston Globe reports.

“We want our money,” Solimando said Bulger told him. “He pulled a revolver out and stuck it in my face and told me how disappointed he was that I hadn’t come to him sooner.”

Solimando said he had little choice but to hand over the money.

“It was either that or get killed,” said Solimando. “I was sufficiently scared, I’ll tell you that.”

FBI Bars Florida Examiner from Releasing Autopsy of Chechen Man Killed by Agent

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has blocked the release of the autopsy report of the Chechen man killed by an FBI agent during an investigation in May, the Boston Globe reports.

Ibragim Todashev, a friend of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, was in his Orlando apartment when the agent shot and killed him. 

The medical examiner said the autopsy is complete and “ready for release,” but the FBI does not want the public seeing it because the case is still under investigation, according to the Globe.

“The FBI has informed this office that the case is still under active investigation and thus not to release the document,” Tony Miranda, forensic records coordinator for Orange and Osceola counties in Orlando, said in a media statement Tuesday.

Did Boston Marathon Bombers Have Help? FBI Investigates Accused Terrorist in Boston Area

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether the Boston Marathon bombers received help from a terrorism suspect who had all the materials needed for a pressure-cooker bomb, Reuters reports.

The Boston-area man, Daniel Morley, is accused of trying to blow up an airplane and having bomb-making equipment at his home on June 9, Reuters wrote.

Morley told his mother that his best friend was bragging about knowing one of the two Chechen brothers accused of detonating a pressure-cooker near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Police found a large pressure cooker and a block duffel back inside Morley’s closet. Included were black power, ignitors and pieces of metal to be used as shrapnel, according to Reuters.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Alleged Victim Feared He’d Die for Crossing the Mobster

 

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Edward “Brian” Halloran had a feeling his life wouldn’t last long if he revealed information about a slaying involving accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, The Boston Globe reports.

During testimony Monday in the racketeering and murder case against Bulger, a retired FBI agent said Holloran indicated he was concerned about retaliation from Bulger or his partner Flemmi Stephen ‘‘The Rifleman.”

‘‘He said that if Bulger or (Bulger’s ) Flemmi had any indication that he was cooperating with the FBI that they would go to any extreme, even if it meant killing innocent bystanders, including his family,’’ the agent, Gerald Montanari, testified.

Halloran was cooperating in hopes that it would help him in his impending state murder charges in a separate case, The Globe reported.

FBI Prepares For New Office in Hudson Valley

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents will be closer to an area that has been a hotbed for violent crime in the Hudson Valley in New York, the Associated Press reports.

The agency is opening up a new $4.5 million regional office near the city of Newburgh, which has been the focus of FBI crackdowns on violent drug gangs.

The office will be next to Stewart International Airport in the town of New Windsor, 55 miles north of New York City.

The FBI said the location is convenient because it’s near the Thruway and Interstate 84 and not far fro Newburgh.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Laura Bucheit Takes Helm at FBI’s Las Vegas Division

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Laura A. Bucheit, who served as a special assistant to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, has been named special agent in charge of the agency’s Las Vegas Division, the Las-Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Bucheit’s career with the FBI began in 1996 at the Baltimore Division, where she investigated terrorism and other serious crimes. She then became the Baltimore Division’s first female SWAT team member.

Bucheit is no stranger to Las Vegas. In January 2005, she began to oversee FBI international and domestic terrorism probes.

Why FBI’s Departure from Pennsylvania Avenue Would Boost Region

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The demolition of the Hoover Building would create $28 million in additional tax revenue for Washington D.C. and provide much needed aesthetic relief for people who have to see the hulking building every day, the Washington Post wrote in an editorial today.

The move to another building also makes sense regionally, the Post argued. It would bring about 11,000 jobs – about half of which are scattered across various buildings in the District and Virginia – to one building.

“Consolidating them in a modern facility is important for an agency that has grown fast since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” the Post wrote. “Given the land requirements for a new headquarters — at least 40 acres — suburban sites with access to Metro are the logical place to look.”