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Transgender Woman Wins Discrimination Suit Against ATF

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A woman who was denied a job after ATF officials discovered she was transgender won a lawsuit this week in which she claimed she was the victim of unlawful discrimination, the Transgender Law Center reports.

Mia Macy, an experienced police detective who has worked with the ATF on ballistics, said she was denied the job because she was transgender.

Macy identified as a male at the beginning of the application process, but by the time of the hiring decision, she changed her name to Macy.

Under the decision, the ATF must offer Macy the position and provide back pay and benefits with interest.

“It’s a victory for all transgender people to know that we have a voice, that we have recourse, and that when it comes to workplace protections we deserve to make a living,” said Macy in a statement. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Senate Committee Approves Comey As Next FBI Director; Full Senate Vote Next

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

James Comey is closer to being the next FBI director.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved Comey, Obama’s choice to replace Robert Mueller, the USA Today reports.

Now the Senate must approve the nomination of the former senior Justice Department official.

The USA Today wrote that Comey is almost guaranteed to be approved by the Senate.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Drug Dealer Says Accused Mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger Forced Him to Play Russian Roulette

Whitey Bulger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger forced a former drug kingpin to play Russian roulette in the back room of a nightclub in 1983, according to testimony at the racketeering and murder trial, Reuters reports.

“The conversation wasn’t going too well… But I wasn’t going to pay him $1 million. I just wasn’t going to do it,” William David Lindholm testified.

Lindholm said Bulger, leader of the Winter Hill Gang, wanted $1 million in cash. Bulger lodged a bullet in the chamber and pulled the trigger with the gun pointing at Lindholm’s head.

Lindholm said he convinced Bulger that his marijuana dealing wasn’t as big as it was and only had to turn over $250,000, Reuters wrote.

NSA Leaker Snowden May Be Granted Temporary Asylum in Russia

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA leader Edward Snowden issued a hand-scrawled application for temporary asylum in Russia, and his lawyer said he could soon walk out of Sheremetyevo airport, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

“The question of giving him temporary asylum won’t take more than a week. I think that in the near future he will have the possibility to leave the Sheremetyevo transit zone,” the independent Interfax agency quoted the lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, as saying.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared reluctant to help Snowden, The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the president appears to be resigned to the idea.

“As I understand it, Snowden didn’t aim to spend his whole life in Russia. I don’t understand how a young man decided to do what he did, but it’s his choice,” Putin said.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly Seems Open to Head Department of Homeland Security

NYPD Commissioner Kelly/nypd photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly appears to be open to considering the top job at the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Daily News reports.

Rep. Pete King said the city’s top cop is “not saying no” to the possibility of taking the job.

The comment follows President Obama’s comments about Kelly in a TV interview, saying he is “one of the best there is” in fighting terrorism.

“Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he’s not, I’d want to know about it,” Obama said. “Obviously, he’d be very well-qualified for the job.”

Kelly is among names that have been floated as a potential replacement for Janet Napolitano.

Federal Review Finds As Many As 27 Problematic Death Penalty Convictions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As many as 27 people were convicted of the death penalty by exaggerated scientific testimony, an unprecedented federal review of old criminal cases shows, the Washington Post reports.

The review found that FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked to defendants to the exaggerated testimony.

In one case in May, the review led to an 11th-hour stay of execution in Mississippi in May.

How many people were wrongfully convicted will be further studied, the Post wrote.

The outcome may have a lasting impact on the wisdom of the death penalty.

Commentary: Frightening Questions Raised Over Drones Patrolling Border

 

istock photo

Glenn Garvin
The Columbus Dispatch

Last month, when the Senate passed an amendment to its immigration-reform bill that included $46 billion to beef up border security, Sen. John McCain declared: “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall!” He didn’t know the half of it.

Since then, documents released as part of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation have revealed that the Department of Homeland Security has been preparing to fly armed drones along the border.

A long-term-planning document prepared by the department’s Customs and Border Patrol service, which is using Predator drones for surveillance along the border, would authorize the use of “ nonlethal weapons designed to immobilize” targets of interest.

That gets scarier when you thumb through some of the other newly released documents, which reveal that the Border Patrol plans to more than double its drone fleet over the next three years, to 24, and make them more easily available to other government agencies.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

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.