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FBI Reduces Backlog of Forensic DNA Tests

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Forensic DNA tests are notoriously backlogged.

But an increase in staffing and the use of automated technology have contributed to reduce the FBI lab’s backlog by 87% from 2010 to March of this year, the Associated Press reports.

The lab and timely tests are incredibly important because DNA evidence taken from crime scenes can make or break a case.

Most reductions came in the nuclear DNA Unit, which analyzes blood, fluids and semen, according to the AP. Also experiencing a reduction in caseloads was the mitochondrial DNA Unit, which examines bones, teeth and hair fragments.

Poor Ex-Detroit Mayor, He Had Too Much Cash: Friends Says he Passed on $90,000 to Him

 

Kwame Kilpatrick (far right) leaves courthouse/deadline detroit

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Poor Kwame Kilpatrick.

He’s got a cash problem.

No, not a shortage. Too much.

On Monday, the feds produced bank statements showing that he deposited about $531,000 in cash — beyond his paychecks — while he was mayor from 2002 to 2008. He also used $280,000 in cash to pay off credit card debt.

On Tuesday,  on the third day of trial in federal court in his public corruption probe, the prosecution delivered more damaging testimony about cash. The feds claim all his cash could only have come his way illegally, arguing that there was no other obvious explanation.

Mahlon Clift, a close friend from college who considered the ex-mayor a “brother”, testified today that he came to Detroit from Chicago in 2008 to support Kilpatrick, who was having problems as mayor and at home.

While staying at the Atheneum hotel in Greektown, Clift, a jeweler, said he got a call from contractor Bobby Ferguson, who was a friend and a close friend of Kilpatrick.

Ferguson came to the room and handed him a shopping bag with $90,000 and said for him to hold it for “Black.” Clift testified that he understood the cash was for Kilpatrick, who Ferguson sometimes called “Black.” He said there were in nine stacks of $10,000, each with $100 and $50 bills.

To read full story click here.

After Fighting Corruption for 25 Years, FBI Agent John Roberts Retires

photo courtesy of Philadelphia Enquirer

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 An FBI agent whose work helped jail dozens of Philadelphia and New Jersey politicians is retiring after 25 years with the bureau, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Agent John Roberts spent 20 years of his career in Philadelphia, where he became an expert on corruption and the politicians who turn to the dark side.

During his last five years, he ran the corruption squad.

His expertise took him as far away as Europe to lecture on corruption and pay-to-play politics, the Inquirer reported.

Roberts will take his skills to a senior manager position in the antifraud unit of the Deloitte accounting firm, according to the Inquirer.

FBI Probes Fatal Police Shooting of Double Amputee in Houston

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether a Houston police officer used excessive force by fatally shooting a double-amputee in a wheelchair at a home for the mentally ill, the Associated Press reports.

The AP said police were responding to a call about an irate one-armed, one-legged man who wouldn’t come down.

One of the officers said he shot the 45-year-old amputee in the head because he felt cornered by the wheelchair and feared his partner was in danger by what turned out to be a ballpoint pen, according to the AP.

“It is my desire to have everyone reserve judgment until all the facts and evidence in this investigation have been gathered,” Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said.

Ex-FBI Agent Joseph Pistone, AKA Donnie Brasco, Warns Canadian Officials of Mafia Dangers

The Movie "Donnie Brasco"

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent Joseph Pistone, better known by his alias Donnie Brasco, told a commission in Canada that the mafia is a menacing “plague on our society,” the Montreal Gazette reports.

During the highly anticipating testimony, Pistone said the structures and traditions of the mafia are identical around the globe.

“That’s why the Mafia has survived so long, because they have stayed the same as far as their rules and regulations,” Pistone testified. “They keep their members in line by fear and intimidation. If you get caught breaking one of these rules, you’re gonna die.”

Pistone, who is wanted dead by the mafia, was shielded from cameras and protected by enhanced security, reported.

Pistone sought to erase the public’s romanticized image of the mafia, saying the mob is deadly and disruptive.

Wife of Missing Ex-FBI Agent Pleas with Iran for Help Finding Husband

Steve Neavling 
 ticklethewire.com

The wife of a former FBI agent missing for five years traveled to New York to urge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to help find her husband, NBC 4 New York reports.

Bob Levinson, 64, traveled to the Iranian island of Kish on March 8, 2007, and never returned.

His wife, Christine Levinson, said she feels helpless because she has no information or way of finding out new information.

The plea coincides with Ahmadinejad’s planned speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, NBC 4 New York reported.

“I am pleading with all the members of the UN to try and help me get Iran to investigate,” she said.

Border Patrol Agent Saves Woman from Drowning in Sanchez Canal

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A woman trying to reach the U.S. by swimming across a canal bordering Arizona and Mexico was rescued by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, the Yuma Sun reports.

The woman and two others who said they were Mexican nationals were trying to swim across the Sanchez Canal late Friday.

But as the water level rose, the woman couldn’t stay afloat, prompting the agent to throw a rope to rescue her, the Sun reported. When that didn’t work, an unidentified agent jumped into the water and pulled her to safety.

“Three individuals attempting to swim the Sanchez Canal … are alive today thanks to the quick action of a Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent,” a Border Patrol press release stated.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST


Justice Dept. Issues Statement About Allegations that Undercover FBI Agent Paid for Prostitutes in Philippines for Himself and Defendants in Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to a story in ticklethewire. com in which a defense attorney accused a California FBI agent of using thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to pay for prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and three defendants in a arms trafficking sting.

“We will contest the factual assumptions and legal significance of the defendant’s challenges in due course,” Justice Department spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said in a statement.

John Littrell, a deputy Federal Public Defender, who represents one of the three defendants wrote in a court document filed in Los Angeles federal court on Sept. 17:

“In order to induce the defendants to participate, an undercover agent spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes for himself and for the defendants,” Littrell wrote. “Many of these prostitutes were likely minors. These crimes were not victimless.  Indeed, only months after an undercover agent paid thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for prostitutes at a well-known brothel in Manila, the Philippine government raided the brothel, and rescued twenty under-aged girls.”

Littrell has asked the judge to dismiss the case based on “outrageous governmental misconduct,” citing the use of prostitutes  in the case —  including for the agent — and allegations that the FBI manufactured the case after it failed to find real weapons traffickers in its investigation into Transnational Asian Organized Crime that began in 2010 and ended in December 2011 with criminal charges. A Nov. 13  trial has been set.

“The defendants became involved in this offense only after the government’s effort to ensnare a true weapons trafficker fell apart,” the court documents says. “More importantly, the actual crimes charged in this case — importing weapons to the United States — were committed by federal agents acting unilaterially , without help from the defendants.” In other words, he alleged, that the FBI agents, not the defendants, actually shipped the weapons to the U.S., and the FBI deliberately lied on customs declarations — all so the FBI could charge the defendants with illegal importation of weapons.

The Philippino defendants Sergio  Santiago Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza are charged  with conspiracy and importation of firearms. Littrell, who represents Syjuco, alleges that the defendants were not weapons traffickers, but the FBI pushed them into obtaining and selling guns. Authorities allege that the defendants sold weapons and helped facilitate the importation of the weapons to the U.S.