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Fed. Judge Tosses Out a Lot of Charges Against Puerto Rico Gov.

Puerto Rico’s Governor got a big break. Will it be a big enough break to keep him free?

Puerto Rico Governor

Puerto Rico Governor

By MIKE MELIA
Associated Press Writer
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A U.S. judge has thrown out most of the federal corruption charges against Puerto Rico’s governor, who faces trial in February for alleged campaign finance violations.
The judge on Monday dismissed 15 of the 24 charges against Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila. All but two were dismissed with prejudice and cannot be filed again.
Defense attorney Thomas Green described the ruling as a blow to prosecutors.
“There’s no common thread that weaves all the charges together, but it certainly cuts out a big part of the case,” Green said by telephone from his office in Washington.
A federal indictment handed down in March accuses Acevedo of conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws and defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and giving false testimony to the FBI. The governor, who has denied any wrongdoing, faces trial Feb. 9.
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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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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.
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The FBI and the Corruption Eradication Commission in Indonesia Sign Pact For Technical Cooperation (Jakarta Post)

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.
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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

L.A. FBI Sends Agents to India to Investigate Attacks

Incidents like this are a reminders of the boundless determination of terrorists.

Asian News International
WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush phoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from Camp David on Thursday and offered his country’s support in investigations connected with the serial terror attacks in southern Mumbai that left 125 dead and 327 injured.
According to reports, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team consisting of bomb and forensic experts, has been sent from Los Angeles to help in the investigation.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has briefed President-elect Barack Obama on the situation in Mumbai, even as national security and intelligence chiefs gathered at the White House to discuss the prevailing situation in India.
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Son and Fed. Prosecutor Applaud Presidential Pardon of Crooked Detroit Cop

Sgt. James Harris was known in Detroit as a tough cop among co-workers and well connected in the police department. Now, 16 years after getting caught up in an FBI sting, he leaves prison legally blind and suffering from diabetes.

Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Detroit Firefighter James C. Harris will never forget the day in 1992 he drove his father, a former Detroit police sergeant, to the federal courthouse in Flint for the final day of his trial in a criminal cocaine conspiracy.
He drove home alone after a jury convicted his dad and U.S. marshals took him into custody.
News this week that President Bush granted clemency to his father, James Russell “Jimmie” Harris, and commuted the remainder of his 30-year prison sentence, is “the best Thanksgiving present ever,” the son said Tuesday.
The elder Harris, 62, legally blind and sick with diabetes and hypertension, is to be released Dec. 22 — more than 10 years ahead of schedule — from the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. He is one of 14 people who received pardons from President Bush this week.
Snared in a high-profile FBI sting operation that also netted relatives of then-Mayor Coleman A. Young, Harris has no political influence but earned his clemency through his remorse and help he gave to law enforcement after he went to prison, those involved with his case said.
‘He’s changed for the better’
“I think it’s great,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Helland, who prosecuted Harris twice after the first trial ended in a hung jury.
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