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News Story

Fed Prosecutors Looking Into Possible Manslaughter Charges Against BP Managers

By Justin Blum and Alison Fitzgerald
Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are considering whether to pursue manslaughter charges against BP Plc (BP/) managers for decisions made before the Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion last year that killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history, according to three people familiar with the matter.

U.S. investigators also are examining statements made by leaders of the companies involved in the spill — including former BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward — during congressional hearings last year to determine whether their testimony was at odds with what they knew, one of the people said. All three spoke on condition they not be named because they weren’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Charging individuals would be significant to environmental- safety cases because it might change behavior, said Jane Barrett, a law professor at the University of Maryland.

To read more click here.

Az. Border Agent Shot Fleeing Mexican 3 Times in the Back, Sheriff’s Dept. Says

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The deadly drama at the Mexican border continues to play out in so many different way.

The latest: The Associated Press reports that the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department on Monday said that a Border Patrol agent fatally shot a Mexican man three times in the back as he tried climbing a ladder at the wall of the Arizona-Mexican border.

Sheriff’s spokesman Carol Capas said there was no indication the man, Carlos La Madrid, 19, tried to assault the agent before the shooting on March 21, AP reported. The agent’s name was not released. He was placed on administrative leave after the incident.

Authorities said La Madrid fled police in a truck in the border town of Douglas and was climbing the wall when another man started throwing rocks at the agent, AP reported. La Madrid’s truck contained 48 pounds of marijuana, AP reported.

The Border Patrol referred questions about the case to the FBI, which declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation, AP reported.

Feds Bust Philippine Man for Selling Spy Plane on eBay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Go on eBay and you’ll find it all: a Bottega Veneta handbag; a 1956 Chevy Bel Air van; an uncirculated Eagle quarter shrunk to the size of a dime.

But a U.S. spy plane?

Yes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa said Monday that it had charged Henson Chua, 47, of the Philippines with trying to sell a U.S. spy plane known as a Raven on eBay for $13,000 to federal agents with the Homeland Security Department, Reuters news service reported. He was arrested in Los Angeles in February during a visit to the U.S.

Specifically, he was charged with smuggling and violating the Arms Export Control Act, Reuters reported. The news service did not report how he had obtained the plane.

Reuters reported that the four-pound plane, which can easily be taken apart and reassembled,  has three cameras and is used for battlefield surveillance.

Reuters reported that federal agents discovered last May that the plane was for sale.  Chua sent them the plane in pieces in separate packages in exchange for the money.

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Barry Bonds’ Ex-Girlfriend Delivers a Punch for the Prosecution

Kimberly Bell/fox news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As days go, Monday was not Barry Bonds’ best one.

His ex-girlfriend Kimberly Bell testified in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that the former baseball slugger for the San Francisco Giants told her he used steroids but “didn’t shoot it up everyday like bodybuilders did,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bonds is charged with lying about his steroid use while testifying before a federal grand jury.

Bell also testified that Bonds blamed a career-threatening elbow injury in 1999 to the use of steroids, the paper reported.

The drugs “somehow caused the muscles and tendons to grow faster than they could handle and (the elbow) somehow blew out,” Bell testified, according to the Chronicle.

She testified that after taking steroids Bonds became increasingly angry and controlling and muscular and “developed acne on his upper shoulders and back,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “His hair was falling out quickly, and he ended up shaving it all off.”

She testified that his testicles changed shape and shrunk.

The defense went after her during the cross examination, trying to portray her as a jilted lover who tried to profit from the relationship. She posed nude in Playboy and pitched a book about Bonds, the Chronicle reported.

Ex-Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr Describes Scene at Reagan Shooting

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYd4vG1sDXY

Del Quentin Wilber, author of  the new book on the shooting, “Rawhide Down”,  discusses the shooting.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y5wLFeYB24

Inmate Pleads to Threatening Boston Fed Prosecutor

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some people don’t really want to get out of prison. Michael Crooker might be one of those folks.

Crooker, 57, who has been in prison since June 2004, pleaded guilty Monday in Boston to illegally possessing deadly ricin and using the mail to threaten a federal prosecutor.

The prosecutor told the court Monday that Crooker was charged on June 23, 2004 with using the U.S. mail to transport a firearm.

At the time, agents searched Crooker’s Agawam, Mass. apartment and found a weapons lab replete with deadly chemicals that could be used to make powerful explosives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Agents also found castor seeds, which can be used to make deadly ricin and other dangerous materials.

While jailed and awaiting trial on the firearms charge, Crooker told two fellow inmates that he knew how to make ricin and possessed ricin and discussed how to mail it.

On July 22, 2004,  while behind bars, he sent a letter to the Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the firearms case, invoked the name of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh and wrote: “As Martyr McVeigh’s T-shirt says: ‘The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time by blood of patriots and tyrants.’” Crooker challenged the prosecutor to “bring on your [expletive deleted] and I’ll bring on mine,” and warned that even someone in prison could send toxins through the mail and cripple the postal system.

In August 2004, Crooker’s father unearthed a buried vial of powdered ricin on the his property that belonged to his son —  enough to kill 150 to 750 people, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.  Authorities said Crooker admitted to possessing the ricin and had it stashed at his father’s home for  three or four years. Sentencing is set for June 20.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ATF’s Mess: Operation Fast and Furious

NY U.S. Atty’s Office Goes More Global Since 2004

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke to notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has become aggressively global, indicting international figures from around the world, the New York Times reports.

Since 2004,  the Times’ Ben Weiser reports that the office has sent prosecutors to 25-plus countries “as part of investigations that have brought back dozens of suspected arms and narcotics traffickers and terrorists to Manhattan to face charges. And some of them have involved stings like the one that snared Mr. Bout.”

The paper reported that some other U.S. Attorney’s Offices like the one in Alexandria, Va., have also built international cases, but none appear to have done so in similar number or variety as the New York office.

“I think they are pursuing more kinds of international cases, with a deliberateness that’s new,” ex-N.Y. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the Times.

The current U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was appointed to his post in 2009,  told the Times that it has become necessary in the post-911 era.

“As crime has gone global and national security threats are global,” he said, “in my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”

To read full story click here.