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ABC Says Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is “Senate Candidate No. 5” in Governor Scandal

There’s still plenty blanks to fill in in this sizzling case.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./official photo

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./official photo

Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate No. 5” whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News.
The politician says he is not a target of the Blagojevich investigation.
According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided ROD BLAGOJEVICH” with something “tangible up front.”
Jackson said this morning he was contacted Tuesday by federal prosecutors in Chicago whom he said “asked me to come in and share with them my insights and thoughts about the selection process.”
Read More

In Illinois Gov. Scandal the Question is: Who is “Candidate 5”

Gov. Blagojevich/state photo

Gov. Blagojevich/state photo

No question, with a scandal of this magnitude  there will be many many more questions in coming weeks….like who was “Candidate 5” mentioned in the charging papers? Inquiring minds want to know.

By Ben Protess
ProPublica

The FBI’s arrest today of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has brought a new figure into our political lexicon: “Senate Candidate 5.”
The FBI recorded Blagojevich last week saying to an adviser that “Candidate 5” might raise money for Blagojevich and even give him “some (money) up front, maybe” in exchange for being appointed to replace Obama, according to today’s criminal complaint (PDF) filed by the United States Attorney’s office in Chicago.
Blagojevich has the sole power to appoint Obama’s replacement under the state constitution. Blagojevich allegedly analogized this power to that of a sports agent shopping a potential free agent to the highest bidder, telling an adviser, “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden…I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing.”
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Read U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

Excerpt From Charges: Gov. Calls Obama a MotherF–

Brazen Words Left Agents Shocked (Washington Post)

Morning Arrest: Government Asks is This a Joke? (Chicago Tribune)

Union Officials Allegedly Acted as Go-Between (Washington Post)

Breaking News: Illinois Gov. Blagojevich and Chief of Staff Arrested in Corruption Probe

Well, all you can say is: Louisiana you don’t have anything over on Illinois. The state has one ex-gov in prison and a current one under indictment.

Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich

By Jon Perkins
ticklethwire.com

Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday on a criminal complaint alleging “a political corruption crime spree” that included conspiring to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate position.
Blagojevich, who has been under investigation for at least three years by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the district attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, was taken into custody by the FBI early Tuesday at his home on Chicago’s North Side. He and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged in a “pay to play scheme” that
allegedly included: seeking jobs and benefits for Blagojevich and his wife; threatening to withdraw $8 million in funding for a Chicago children’s hospital, pushing for Chicago Tribune editors to be fired in
exchange for favorable treatment on the company’s proposed sale of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field and kickbacks on horse racing and casino legislation.
The 76-page criminal complaint based on about a month and a half of wiretaps at Blagojevich’s home and campaign offices, alleges that the governor wanted kickbacks in exchange for appointing someone to the Senate seat Obama vacated after winning election as president.
“The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Fitzgerald said, quoting Blagojevich as saying the Senate seat is “a bleeping valuable thing. You just don’t give it away. … I’ve got this thing and it’s bleeping golden.”
Fitzgerald called the allegations “staggering.” This is “corruption at its absolute best.” Illinois politics has a history of chicinary going back years. Since the 1960s, three men who have been governor have been sent to jail. The latest, former governor George Ryan, is in prison on bribery and corruption charges related to his
time as Illinois secretary of state and governor, in a probe headed by Fitzgerald.
He said Blagojevich was arrested yesterday to stop actions that could have to be later reversed.
Fitzgerald called the corruption charges against Blagojevich “a truly new low.” Blagojevich wasn’t against the corrupt deal for the Senate seat, he was against “being stiffed in the corrupt deal,”Fitzgerald said. Two aides reportedly told Blagojevich to appoint whoever Obama wanted to the Senate post, but the governor reportedly said “bleep them.” He reportedly considered naming himself to the post or asking for a cabinet-level job including secretary of Health and Human Services or an ambassadorship.
Blagojevich “talked about selling it like a sports agent,” Fitzgerald said.
The governor was released on bond after a court appearance. Fitzgerald said the investigation into Blagojevich continues.
Blagojevich, as governor, has the sole authority to name Obama’s replacement. Fitzgerald, who many speculate is ticketed for a high-ranking Justice Department post, said his office is not implying that Obama had knowledge or was aware of the alleged scheming. Obama, who was “saddened and sobered” by the arrest, said he had had no contact with Blagojevich on the appointment. Blagojevich’s arrest does not preclude him from making the appointment.
Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, characterized Illinois’ place in the pantheon of political corruption. “If it isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one hell of a competitor,” Grant said. “Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked.”
Fitzgerald  was behind the recent conviction of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a
financier and fund-raiser who has been connected to several  Illinois
Democrats including  Blagojevich and Obama.  Rezko reportedly is
cooperating with Fitzgerald in his probe into Illinois political
corruption.

For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Read U.S. Attorney’s Press Release

Columnist Eric Zorn: Charges ‘staggering,’ even by Illinois standards (Chicago Tribune)

Trib Was Asked To Delay Publishing Stories

Obama Said He Had No Contact Over Senate Seat (Chicago Tribune)

Should FBI Dir. Mueller and Ex-A.G. John Ashcroft Take Responsibility for Some Questionable Anti-Terrorism Policies?

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

Have the U.S. anti-terrorism policies gone over the line? If so, who is responsible? The Supreme Court may bring some clarity to the issue.

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Warren Richey
The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court this week takes up a case examining whether cabinet-level officials in the Bush White House can be held legally accountable for the administration’s controversial tactics in the war on terror.
At issue is an attempt to force former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller to stand trial with federal agents, prison guards, and their supervisors. They are all named in a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man who was held as a terror suspect for five months in solitary confinement in a US prison although there was no evidence connecting him to terrorism.
The case is set for oral argument on Wednesday.
Javaid Iqbal was among hundreds of Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims who were swept up in a massive government dragnet in the New York City area in the weeks and months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of the men were arrested on valid immigration-related charges. But instead of being housed in an immigration detention center to await deportation, some of the men – including Mr. Iqbal – were taken to a maximum security section of a federal prison in Brooklyn.
Iqbal’s lawsuit alleges that he was subjected to “brutal mistreatment and discrimination” by federal officials who arbitrarily classified him as a Sept. 11 suspect “of high interest” to the FBI solely because he was a Muslim from Pakistan.
For Full Story

FBI Stats Show More People Getting Away With Murder

Statistics show too many people are getting away with the ultimate crime.

By KAREN HAWKINS
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — Despite the rise of DNA fingerprinting and other “CSI”-style crime-fighting wizardry, more and more people in this country are getting away with murder. FBI figures reviewed by The Associated Press show that the homicide clearance rate, as detectives call it, dropped from 91 percent in 1963 – the first year records were kept in the manner they are now – to 61 percent in 2007.
Law enforcement officials say the chief reason is a rise in drug- and gang-related killings, which are often impersonal and anonymous, and thus harder to solve than slayings among family members or friends. As a result, police departments are carrying an ever-growing number of “cold-case” murders on their books.
“We have killers walking among us. We have killers living in our neighborhoods,” said Howard Morton, executive director of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons. “It is a clear threat to public safety to allow these murders to go unsolved.”
For Full Story

Woman Charged Federally in Slaying of Pittsburgh FBI Agent

FBI agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

FBI agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

Christina Korbe originally said she fired because she thought it was a home invasion. Court papers give a different story

By Paula Reed Ward
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PITTSBURGH — The federal government this afternoon charged Christina Korbe, the woman who fired the shot that killed FBI Special Agent Samuel Hicks last month, with murder. The maximum penalty she could face is life in prison; the government has not charged her with premeditated homicide.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Mrs. Korbe is also charged with using a gun to forcibly assault and interfere with Agent Hicks’ official duties; using a firearm during commission of a crime of violence; and aiding a felon to possess a firearm.
For Full Story

FBI Agent Mark Rossini — Romantically Linked to Actress– Pleads Guilty to Accessing FBI Computers To Help Pellicano Case

Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – FBI Agent Mark T. Rossini, who became fodder for the New York gossip columns when  he started dating actress Linda Fiorentino, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Washington to illegally accessing FBI computers to help rogue private eye Anthony Pellicano during his Los Angles trial on wiretapping and racketeering charges.
The dapper 47-year-old Rossini, clad in a charcoal gray pinstriped-suit and vest, with white shirt and purplish tie, pleaded guilty to five-misdemeanor counts of criminal computer access. Sentencing was set for March on Friday the 13th. Each count carries a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Rossini, looking very somber, told U.S. District Magistrate Judge John M. Focciola that he agreed with the government’s five-page statement of offense that accused him of accessing the FBI’s Automated Case Support System (ACS) more than 40 times for personal use in Washington and New York between Jan 3, 2007 and July 30, 2007.
At one point, the government report said that Rossini downloaded an FBI document known as a “302 report” on Jan. 26, 2007 and gave it to someone only referred to as “X”. That person was Fiorentino .
Fiorentino, who had “a previous relationship with Anthony Pellicano” provided a copy of the report to a Pellincano attorney  in San Francisco, the document said. The attorneys then used the document in Pellicano’s trial to say that the government was withholding “exculpratory information from the defense.”
Little did the attorneys know, the government document said, that the judge had privately told the government in an ex-parte communication that it did not have to hand over the document. Pellicano was eventually convicted of running a criminal enterprise that illegally snooped on high profile celebrities.
The government document went on to say: “On or about July 9, 2007, an online magazine “Radar Online” published a report relating to the defendant, and the government’s prosecution of Anthony Pellicano. The defendant told his supervisors that the article was entirely false, when in fact that was not the case.
“Agents from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) interviewed the
defendant on February 25, 2008, in the presence of his prior attorney,” the document said.”The defendant falsely denied that he obtained FBI information without authorization, or that he provided any FBI information to outside persons. He also denied transmitting the FBI 302 report to any person outside the FBI.”
Rossini, who is likely not to get jail time because he pleaded guilty and quit his job, left the courtroom without comment. Under the sentencing guidelines, he could get a sentence of 0 to 6 months.

Read Government’s Statement of Offense

Convicted Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Tells Newsweek: “I’m a Catholic. I Say Rosary Everyday and Pray For My Innocence”

The fascination with ex-FBI agent John Connolly, convicted in a mob murder, continues. Newsweek visited him in a Miami jail to get his take on his conviction in a mob murder.

John Connolly

John Connolly

By Suzanne Smalley and Evan Thomas
Newsweek

For many years, John Connolly was the FBI’s most effective Mafia investigator in Boston. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard. He says his “hero” is Bobby Kennedy and points to his family’s devotion to public service (his brother is a retired DEA agent, and his sister became a teacher). But when he met last week with a NEWSWEEK REPORTER at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami, he was wearing shackles around his ankles. Once dashing and athletic, the 68-year-old Connolly was stooped and pot-bellied in his bright-red prison jumpsuit. His skin was paper-thin and white from lack of sunlight. For the past three and a half years, he has lived in a tiny, 10- by 12-foot cinder-block cell; his food is slipped to him through a slot in the heavy metal door. He is kept in solitary confinement for his own protection: a few years ago, Connolly says, another former FBI agent was badly beaten by inmates in the same jail.
Speaking with the reporter in a holding room, Connolly was grandfatherly, intelligent, emotional. “Believe me, I am innocent!” he declared, pumping his fist in the air. “I’m a Catholic. I say the rosary every day and pray for my innocence. I pray to Saint Jude, the saint of hopeless causes, and to Saint Rita, the saint of the impossible.”
For Full Story