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Marshals Service Grateful Deputy Survived Shooting in St. Pete; 2 Cops Were Killed

Underwear Bomber Set to Go to Trial Oct. 4 in Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The man dubbed the “Underwear Bomber” will go on trial on Oct. 4, Reuters news service reported.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds set the trial in October despite requests the suspected bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that the proceedings begin later in the year or early next year.

Addulmutallab fired his court-appointed attorneys and is representing himself. He has a stand-by attorney Anthony Chambers who can advice him on matter.

Abdulmutallab faces eight charges, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism when he tried to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day.

Authorities have privately said that Abdulmutallab would not likely get any break in sentencing if he pleaded guilty.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Embassy Bomber Gets Life

Ghailani pictured upper right hand corner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Convicted terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which claimed the lives of 224 people and wounded thousands.

Ghailani, 36, is the first ex-Gitmo detainee to be prosecuted in civilian court. But his case raised anxieties on Capitol Hill and elsewhere over  the issue of trying Gitmo detainee cases in civilian courts after the government ran into some difficulties and only won convictions on 1 of 285 counts against Ghailani.

He was convicted Nov. 17 of conspiracy to destroy government buildings and property. Authorities charged that he helped in the preparation of the attack, which included buying TNT.

But despite the conviction on one count,  U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan handed him a life sentence,  and said, according to the New York Times: “The very purpose of the crime was to create terror by causing death and destruction.”

He is the fifth person to be convicted in connection with the embassy bombings.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement following the sentencing, saying:

“Today, in Manhattan Federal Court, justice was served. Ahmed Ghailani is a remorseless terrorist, mass murderer, and Al Qaeda operative, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison. As we said in court on the day this trial began, Ghailani was a vital member of the East African terror cell that murdered 224 innocent people and wounded thousands of others in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Finally, twelve-and-a-half years after those devastating and despicable attacks, Ahmed Ghailani will pay for his crimes.

“This was a difficult case for a number of reasons. Our goal all along was to hold Ghailani accountable for his heinous conduct, and, no matter the obstacles, to see to it that he would receive the punishment he deserved. Today, our goal was achieved, as Ahmed Ghailani will never again breathe free air.”

“The reason we are at this point today is the extraordinary hard work done in difficult circumstances by a lot of people.  I salute the unflagging commitment, dedication, and talent of the FBI agents who so thoroughly investigated this case and the prosecutors who so ably tried it.”

“They spent years of their lives putting this case together — traveling around the world, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, and piecing together fragments of evidence from the bombed-out shells of two American embassies. I would like to personally thank the lawyers from my office who oversaw the prosecution — Michael Farbiarz, Nick Lewin, Harry Chernoff, and Sean Buckley. I would also like to thank the hard-working detectives of the NYPD and all our other partners in the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Tanzanian National Police, and the Kenyan Police for their exceptional work and assistance in this case.”

Ex-Leader of Detroit Highwaymen Motorcycle Club Gets 37 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The former head of the Detroit Highwaymen Motorcycle club got hit with a 37 year prison sentence on Monday in U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit.

Aref “Scarface” Nagi, 46, was convicted last year on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to violate federal racketeering laws and conspiracy to commit murder, along with controlled substance, stolen property, and firearm violations, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said in a press release.

Nagi was found guilty along with Leonard “Dad” Moore, 61, Joseph “Little Joe” Whiting, 56, Anthony “Mad Anthony” Clark, 52, Michael “Cocoa” Cicchetti, 55, and Gary “Junior” Ball Jr., 44. Nagi is the first of the defendants to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds.

“Dismantling violent gangs is a continuing priority for the FBI,” said Andrew G. Arena, head of the Detroit FBI.

DEA Releases Touching Photo of Baby Who was Born After Agent Father Died in Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The DEA on Tuesday released a touching photo taken last September which showed its Chief of Operations Thomas Harrigan holding a baby of Forrest Leamon, one of three DEA agents killed in a U.S. military helicopter crash on Oct. 26, 2009.

The baby, Luke Leamon,  was born on April 8, 2010, about five months after his father’s death.

The photo (on the right) which also shows agent Leamon, was one of several pictures posted on the agency’s website Tuesday as part of a slide show on “The DEA 2010 Year in Photos.”

The helicopter agent Leamon crashed while returning from a joint counternarcotics mission in western Afghanistan, the DEA said. The other agents killed in the crash included Chad L. Michael and Michael E. Weston.

Leamon, 37, became a DEA agent in 2002 and served at the Washington Field Division and in the El Paso Field Division until 2007, when he joined the FAST team (Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams) in Afghanistan.

Atty. Gen. Holder Issues Hiring Freeze for Justice Dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. has issued a memo calling for a temporary hiring freeze for all Justice Department employees at least until spring, saying the federal government is “facing unprecedented budget challenges”, ABC News reported.

“I anticipate revisiting the Department’s hiring and staff situation in the spring, once we know our likely full-year funding level,” Holder wrote in the Jan. 21 memo, according to ABC’s Jason Ryan. The Justice Department includes prosecutors, support staff and agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service.

Holder said he hoped the steps would “allow us to avoid more severe future measures, such as staff furloughs.”

“While we do not yet know what actions will be taken to fund the Justice Department for the remainder of the fiscal year (FY) which ends September 30, 2011, there is a realistic prospect that the Department will have to operate for the entire fiscal year at last year’s levels,” the memo continued. “This presents significant budget challenges as the cost of our operations and staffing is considerably higher this year.”

“The Justice Department’s budget request for the current fiscal year included a 5.4 percent funding increase, with over 2,800 employees being added to department’s workforce.

“This week, I issued a memorandum to all Component Heads outlining the financial measures that we need to take to ensure the Department can operate through FY 2011 within our budget. Given the Department’s vast size and broad responsibilities, the financial restrictions that I announced will be difficult but given our funding constraints are required.

“One of the measures that I announced was a temporary freeze on hiring. I also directed that components curtail non-personnel spending unless it is necessary for essential operations.”

Read memo

Administrative DEA Officer Indicted in Minn. on Child Porn Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 48-year-old administrative officer for the DEA has been indicted in Minneapolis for producing child pornography involving a 15-year-old boy.

Scott James Whitcomb of Zimmerman, Minn., was indicted Thursday in federal court and charged with coercing a 15-year-old boy into engaging in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing pornography, authorities said. He remains in custody.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Whitcomb’s alleged criminal behavior  was discovered last Aug. 4 while a Minneapolis police officer was conducting an online undercover operation into people sharing child pornography through peer-to-peer networks.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Whitcomb’s residence, where they seized two computers containing images of the 15-year-old boy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He was arrested on Dec. 20, and before he could post bail, federal authorities took him into custody, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

DEA spokesman Will Taylor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Whitcomb did not carry a gun and did mostly administrative work. He said Whitcomb worked for DEA for at least 10 years and resigned Dec. 31 after his arrest.

Taylor said the DEA was in the process of taking administrative action when he resigned, according to the Star Tribune.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Two St. Pete Cops and a Gunman Dead; A Deputy Marshal Wounded From Gunfire

Gunman Hydra Lacy Jr/pinellas county sheriff's office

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two St. Petersburg, Fla. cops and a gunman were killed Monday morning and a deputy U.S. Marshal was wounded when gunfire erupted while authorities were trying to serve a domestic battery warrant at a home, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The dead gunman was identified as Hydra Lacy Jr., a convicted sex offender, the Times reported. The officers were identified as Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz.

The officers were shot and killed while helping to serve a U.S. Marshal’s warrant through a fugitive task force.

The paper reported that officers arrived at the home at 7 a.m. to talk to Lacy’s girlfriend at 7 a.m. But more officers were called in when it became clear Lacey was armed.

One officer and the marshal were hit first. The second officer was fatally shot when he tried to pull the marshal out of the home, the St. Pete Times reported.

At 2:15 p.m., authorities entered the home and determined that Lacy was dead, the Times reported.

To read more click here.