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FBI

FBI Informants In Ft. Dix Case No Angels

photo wcbstv.com
photo wcbstv.com

Not surprising, FBI agents aren’t likely to invite some of their informants in the Ft. Dix terrorism case to dinner. But they do hope to use them to get convictions. Trial begins today.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
CHERRY HILL, N.J. — One is a bankrupt convicted felon who spewed venomous hatred about the United States, hooked up an alleged terrorist cell with semiautomatic weapons and drove the surveillance car as they cased military bases.
The other boasted of killing someone back home in Albania and vowed to kill others or blow himself up in a crowd of people now that he was in the United States.
But Mahmoud Omar and Besnik Bakalli aren’t members of the so-called “Ft. Dix Six,” five of whom go on trial Monday for allegedly conspiring to gun down military personnel at the sprawling South Jersey base in a jihad-inspired attack last year. They’re the FBI informants who are instrumental to the government’s case against the group.
Information surfacing about the two men on the eve of one of the most high-profile U.S.-based terrorism trials since Sept. 11 all but guarantees that they will be put in the hot seat nearly as much as the defendants, along with their FBI handlers.
For Full Story

Read Ft. Dix indictment

See Daily Transcript Of The Trial

The Other Alaska Politician Battling For Survival

A combative Sen. Ted Stevens is expected to bump heads today during cross examination by prosecutors. The case should go to the jury this week.

Sen. Stevens/official photo

Sen. Stevens/official photo

By Neil Lewis
New York Times
WASHINGTON – The ethics trial of Senator Ted Stevens heads to what should be a dramatic climax on Monday: a courtroom confrontation between Mr. Stevens and a Justice Department prosecutor that features a crucial telephone conversation.
Jurors are expected to begin deliberations this week in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican who is charged with concealing gifts and services from a once-close friend.
Related
Over the last three weeks, a federal jury has heard testimony and seen evidence from both sides. But all of that could become secondary to what the jurors make of Mr. Stevens, who has made a calculated gamble in taking the stand as the trial’s final witness.
Mr. Stevens, Republican of Alaska, is charged in seven felony counts with deliberately concealing $250,000 in gifts and services from a once-close friend, Bill Allen, to renovate his house in Girdwood, Alaska. The government has asserted that Mr. Allen deployed his oil services company, Veco, to help remake the Stevens home from a modest A-frame cabin to a two-story residence with wraparound porches, a garage and amenities like an expensive gas grill, a workshop and a whirlpool.

For Full Story

UPDATED 4:05 p.m. Monday: Testimony In Trial Comes To An End (Anchorage Daily News)

Does FBI Have Enough Agents To Probe Fraud Tied To Economic Woes?

The FBI is beginning to look into possible fraud related to the demise of our economy. But some wonder whether the agency  has the resources to do the job right.

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

By Eric Lichtblau, David Johnston and Ron Nixon
New York Times
WASHINGTON – The Federal Bureau of Investigation is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country’s economic crisis, according to current and former bureau officials.
The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation’s economic woes.
The pressure on the F.B.I. has recently increased with the disclosure of criminal investigations into some of the largest players in the financial collapse, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The F.B.I. is planning to double the number of agents working financial crimes by reassigning several hundred agents amid a mood of national alarm. But some people inside and out of the Justice Department wonder where the agents will come from and whether they will be enough.
For Full Story

N.Y. Mobster Complained About Not Getting Paid For Hit

Mobster Joseph “Joe Black” Young may have been a little too frank with an FBI informant. Jurors in Brooklyn are hearing just how frank he was.

John Marzulli
New York Daily News
BROOKLYN — A reputed hit man for the Bonanno crime family got stiffed on his paycheck for the gruesome gangland murder at creepy Kreischer Mansion in Staten Island, prosecutors said Thursday.
Joseph (Joe Black) Young was secretly taped bragging to an FBI informant about the quality of his handiwork in the rubout of mob associate Robert McKelvey, then complaining he didn’t get paid the promised $10,000.
The jury in Young’s racketeering and murder trial heard earlier how he allegedly drowned, dismembered and incinerated the victim.
Thursday, jurors in Brooklyn Federal Court listened to recordings of informant John (The Turk) Mergen seeking details.
“I am sick. I am disgustingly good,” Young gushed. “When I was done, powder was all that was left. You know like, like dust.”
“Burned to a crisp?” Mergen pressed.
“[Burned] to f—— ridiculous,” Young said.
For Full Story

Read About Bonanno Crime Family In Superseding Indictment

Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi Says FBI Wiretaps Illegal

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi says the FBI violated his constitutional rights as a Congressman under the Speech Or Debate Clause —  the same argument other indicted politicians have made including Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. William J. Jefferson.

By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi was wiretapped by one of his former aides during a federal investigation into a land deal that led to the third-term Arizona congressman’s indictment on extortion and other charges.
The role of that congressional staffer and others is disclosed in a motion filed by Renzi’s attorneys, who seek to have much of the government’s evidence thrown out because they say the FBI violated constitutional shields protecting lawmakers from interference in their official actions.
The U.S. District Court motion says Joanne Keene, Renzi’s former legislative director, cooperated with the FBI by secretly recording phone conversations with her ex-boss concerning the land transaction.
The motion also alleges that FBI agents improperly questioned Keene and other ex-Renzi staffers, as well as one working for him at the time, about his role in the land-swap deal. The FBI then used that information to secure search warrants and a court-approved wiretap of the congressman’s phone, the motion says.
For Full Story

Read Renzi Motion To Dismiss #1

Read  Renzi Motion To Dismiss #2

Read Renzi Motion To Dismiss #3

Stevens Goes On Offensive In Fight Of His Life

Scrappy Sen. Ted Stevens took the stand for the second day and attacked his main accuser. At 84, he’s still got plenty of fight in him.

Sen. Ted Stevens Trial

By Erika Bolstand and Richard Mauer
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens, taking the stand for a second day in his corruption trial, today accused the chief witness against him of lying to jurors about conversations the two former friends had about money.
Bill Allen, former chief of the Veco Corp. oil-field services company, testified earlier in Stevens’ corruption trial that he never gave Stevens invoices for work done on the senator’s home in Alaska even though Stevens asked for them. Allen, who pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state lawmakers, testified in exchange for leniency in his own sentencing.
Stevens disputed Allen’s account of a 2006 conversation in Arizona, where they were both vacationing on their annual “boot camps” — get-togethers where they would drink wine and walk in the desert to shed weight. Allen testified that he and Stevens talked about the need for the senator to receive invoices for the Veco work on the house. But Stevens denied the conversation.
For Full Story

FBI Snitch Says EX-New Orleans Mayor Took Cash Payments

Sometimes you need a score card to keep track of who is in trouble down here. The latest allegations are included in a just-unsealed sentencing memorandum for a city hall insider who wore an FBI wire.

Ex-Mayor Marc Morial/national urban league photo

Ex-Mayor Marc Morial/national urban league photo

By Gordon Russell
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Since Mayor Marc Morial left City Hall in 2002, federal investigators have been combing through any number of the contracts and deals inked by his administration.
And not without fruit: The probes have led to guilty pleas from his uncle, several members of his inner circle and a top city administrator.
But the government’s heat never singed Morial directly until this week, with the unveiling of a court document that reveals that federal inmate and former mayoral pal Stan “Pampy” Barre told prosecutors that Morial accepted “cash payments.”
Morial’s name is mentioned in only one sentence in the four-page document. It does not say what the alleged payments were for, who made them, when they were made or how much Morial allegedly received.
Morial, now president of the National Urban League, has not been charged with a crime, and many legal observers think it’s unlikely that he will be.
His attorney, Pat Fanning, characterized Barre’s allegations as lies told by a desperate man who would say or do anything he could — even turn on a friend — to reduce his own criminal exposure. Barre began a five-year prison sentence last week.
For Full Story

Read Unsealed Material In Sentencing Memorandum

Boston Mobster “Whitey” Bulger’s Girlfriend Testifies

Boston’s most notorious mobster “Whitey” Bulger is nowhere to be found. But today his girlfriend showed up to testify in a murder trial of ex-FBI agent John Connolly.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
MIAMI — The world knows him as James “Whitey” Bulger, featured on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list alongside Osama bin Laden.
But today Bulger’s longtime girlfriend, 67-year-old Teresa Stanley told a Florida jury that during her 30 years of living with the South Boston gangster she called him by another name: Charlie.
“I referred to him as Charlie, actually, but sometimes called him Jimmy,” said Stanley, an attractive woman with short, snow-white hair, dressed in a black suit and white shirt, as she sat in the witness box at the murder trial of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. “That was the name he gave. It was sort of a nickname.”
Stanley, who was subpoenaed to testify by the defense, recounted leaving Boston abruptly just before Christmas 1994 on a whirlwind cross-country trek that marked the beginning of Bulger’s life on the run.

For Full Story