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FBI

Bet On It: Mob Museum Will Open in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has a museum you can’t refuse. Even the FBI is backing it.

Al Capone/fbi photo

Al Capone/fbi photo


By Oskar Garcia
Associated Press
LAS VEGAS--The Las Vegas City Council unveiled the name of its planned mob museum this week, along with logos resembling court documents with material blacked out – The (redacted) Museum: The Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement.
The first redaction obscures the word “mob.”
Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former criminal defense lawyer who represented organized crime figures before representing voters in City Hall, has pushed for the museum since 2002. It is expected to open in spring 2010 in downtown Las Vegas, at the site of a former federal courthouse where Goodman tried his first case.
As city officials unveiled the plans, council members tossed around T-shirts that said: “There is no such thing as a mob museum nor have I ever been there.”
Plans for the museum are supported by the FBI, which has pledged to locate organized crime artifacts in Washington and lend them for displays. The former head of the Las Vegas FBI office, Ellen Knowlton, is chairwoman of the museum’s board.
For Full Story

Justice Releases Details On New FBI Powers

The ongoing yin and yang between law enforcement and civil liberties groups continued to rear its head Friday  as the Justice Department released new guidelines for FBI powers.

Atty. Gen. Muskasey/doj photo

Atty. Gen. Muskasey/doj photo

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON– Justice Department officials released new guidelines yesterday that empower FBI agents to use intrusive techniques to gather intelligence within the United States, alarming civil liberties groups and Democratic lawmakers who worry that they invite privacy violations and other abuses.
The new road map allows investigators to recruit informants, employ physical surveillance and conduct interviews in which agents disguise their identities in an effort to assess national security threats. FBI agents could pursue each of those steps without any single fact indicating a person has ties to a terrorist organization.
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said the guidelines are necessary to fulfill the FBI’s core mission to predict threats and respond even before an attack takes place. The ground rules will help the bureau become “a more flexible and adept collector of intelligence,” as independent commissions urged after the strikes of Sept. 11, 2001, Mukasey said in a statement yesterday.
For Full Story

Joint Statement From Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey and FBI Director Robert Mueller III

Justice Department’s Fact Sheet On New Guidelines

FBI Office Manager Julie Fidler To Get Director Award

BY Maggie O’Brien
Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer

OMAHA, Neb – Not many people know what part-time Von Maur employee Julie Fidler did to help authorities in the hours after a 19-year-old gunman walked into the Omaha store last December and killed eight people, then himself.
Julie Fidler, 52, who lives in Bellevue, would prefer to remain anonymous. But later this month, the boss from her other job – the full-time one – is giving her an award that won’t be easy to hide. That boss: FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.
Fidler, a full-time office manager for the FBI in Omaha, still works part-time on the store’s third floor – where most of the shootings occurred. She has worked at the FBI for 34 years, Von Maur for at least five.
For Full Story

Dig For Dead Mobsters In New York Continues Today

FBI agents digging for dead mobsters came up empty handed on Thursday, but continued looking Friday. Will it end up being a wild goose chase?

By ROBERT E. KESSLER
Newsday
EAST FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – FBI agents spent their first full day digging yesterday at an East Farmingdale site that, according to sources, is described by an informant as an organized crime burial ground since at least 1994.
But the agents did not find any traces of the three bodies – one of whom could be Colombo family underboss William Cutolo – that were supposedly buried at the site, the sources said.
The agents suspended their work in the early evening at an industrial and commercial complex radiating out from Baiting Place Road and Del Drive, but plan to continue excavating today, said FBI spokesman James Margolin.
For Full Story

Two Terrorism Convictions In New York Tossed

The U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a conviction of two Yemeni men accused of terrorism. The case included a witness who had set himself on fire in front of the White House. Tough to top that act.

By Larry Neumeister
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A federal appeals court Thursday overturned the convictions of a Yemeni cleric and his deputy, finding they were prejudiced by inflammatory testimony about unrelated terrorism links in a case the United States once touted as a victory in its war against terrorism.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that Sheik Mohammed Ali Al-Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Zayed, convicted of supporting terrorists, can have new trials. The three-judge panel took the unusual step of ordering the transfer of the case to a new judge.
The men were convicted in federal court in Brooklyn after a six-week trial in early 2005 on charges of conspiring to support al-Qaida and Hamas, supporting the Palestinian group and attempting to support al-Qaida. Their trial featured testimony by an FBI informant who set himself on fire outside the White House, saying he wanted more money from the FBI.
For Full Story

Read Court Of Appeals Ruling

FBI Arrests Puerto Rican Senator On Bribery

Scandal was bubbling on Thursday in Puerto Rico where a local senator was off to face bribery charges.

Sen. Jorge de Castro/official photo

Sen. Jorge de Castro/official photo

By Rebecca Banuchi
Associated Press Writer
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The FBI on Thursday arrested a prominent Puerto Rico lawmaker accused of providing political favors in exchange for cash and services totaling roughly half a million dollars, U.S. officials said.
Puerto Rico Sen. Jorge de Castro Font was indicted by a federal grand jury on 31 criminal counts including bribery, wire fraud and money laundering, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez Velez said.
For Full Story

Prosecution Angers Judge In Stevens Trial

Sen. Stevens/official photo
Sen. Stevens/official photo

The trial of Sen. Ted Stevens  almost imploded today for the prosecution. Suffice to say, things could be going better. As a general rule, it’s never good to get the judge angry. The prosecution needs to work on that.

By Erika Bolstad and Richard Mauer
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON – Prosecutors have seriously bungled evidence and witnesses, but Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial will proceed as planned, a federal judge ruled this afternoon.
The case against the Alaska Republican had threatened to collapse earlier in the day when his attorney demanded a mistrial or dismissal of charges over the government’s failure to turn over evidence favorable to the senator.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan was angered at prosecutors for their handling of evidence that might help Stevens’ case but was “not persuaded” the violations were serious enough to declare a mistrial. The trial will resume Monday.
Judge Sullivan asked whether the defense attorneys wanted a few extra days before continuing with the trial and suggested they could make a new opening statement to jurors.
“Thank you for asking, but we believe there should be a dismissal,” said Stevens’ chief lawyer, Brendan Sullivan. “If not a dismissal, then a mistrial.”
For Full Story
New Defense Motion For Mistrial (Oct. 2)
FBI And IRS Documents (Oct. 2)
Government Motion Opposing Mistrial (Oct. 2)
FBI Report (Oct. 2)

Feds Digging In N.Y. For Mobsters

The FBI is digging for bodies linked to the mob wars in the 1990s. In 2006,  agents in Michigan dug up rural land outside of Detroit looking for James Hoffa, but came up empty handed.

BY Robert E. Kessler and Sophia Chang
Newsday
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -Federal agents were digging at two sites and investigating a third site in East Farmingdale that sources said could be burial grounds containing the bodies of at least three victims of the bloody wars in the 1990s for control of the Colombo organized crime family.
At one site, a cluster of FBI agents stood near the railroad tracks behind an Executive Boulevard parking lot as a small backhoe dug into the dirt, before a police officer told reporters to get off private property.
Less than a mile away a large bulldozer began digging away in a vacant lot at the corner of Carolyn Boulevard and Boening Plaza.
For Full Story
Also Read:
Bonanno Crime Family Leader Anthony Spero Dies In Prison (Newsday)