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San Diego Fed Judge Larry Burns Assigned to Az Shooting Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After all the Arizona federal judges recused themselves in presiding over the trial of mass-shooter Jared Loughner, the bench turned to San Diego.

U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns, a 2003 appointee of President George W. Bush, has been appointed to preside over the trial, the Arizona Republic reported. Of course, it’s unclear with all the eye witnesses whether the case will ever go to trial.

The paper also reported that Judge Roslyn O. Silver will replace John Roll as chief judge of Arizona’s U.S. District Courts. Roll was one of six people killed in the shooting.

Feds Prepare for Trial of Woman Accused of Killing Pitts. FBI Agent Sam Hicks

Slain FBI Agent Sam Hicks/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds are gearing up for the trial of a woman accused of killing Pittsburgh FBI agent Sam Hicks in 2008.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry has ordered the federal jury administrator to summon 350 people to serve as the jury pool for the March 7 trial. The potential jurors will report to the courthouse on Feb. 14 for preliminary instructions.

Christina Korbe is charged with shooting Hicks to death. Hicks and other agents had come to the house to serve an arrest warrant for Korbe’s husband. She opened fire, killing Hicks. Her husband Robert Korbe has been sentenced to 25 years  in prison on drug and other charges.

Authorities said when the agents came to the home, Robert  Korbe ran in the basement to get rid of cocaine and his wife Christina opened fire from upstairs.

In November 2009, the Baltimore FBI building was named after Hicks, who had been a Baltimore cop before joining the FBI.

Detained Teen Says FBI Pressed Him During Interrogation in Kuwait

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A controversy is surfacing over the questioning of an American teen in Kuwait who is on the no-fly list.

The New York Times reports that the teen Gulet Mohamed says he was detained in Kuwait and “underwent a heated interrogation by F.B.I. agents for several hours on Wednesday, in a case that has renewed debate over the Obama administration’s expansion of the no-fly list after the attempted bombing of a passenger plane bound for Detroit in 2009.”

The New York Times wrote: “The interrogation grew steadily more hostile when the agents pressed the teenager, Gulet Mohamed, on his travels to Yemen and Somalia and began calling him an ”embarrassment to his country,” accusing him of lying about his contacts with militants overseas, he said.”

The Times reported that the teen says agents began yelling the name of the radical cleric”Anwar al-Awlaki”, who is wanted by the U.S. Kuwaiti officials then asked that the interrogation end.

The teen, who spoke to the Times by phone from a Kuwait deportation facility, claims the FBI continued to question him even after he asked to be represented by a lawyer.

”They wanted me to lie about myself, and pushed me to lie about things I had done,” he said, according to the Times.

The FBI declined comment, the Times reported.

John Dowdy Jr. Named Court Appointed U.S. Atty in Mississippi

John Dowdy/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John M. Dowdy Jr., who has been the acting first assistant U.S. Attorney for the past year, is now the court-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

He replaces Donald R. Burkhalter, who retired this month.

Dowdy was appointed by Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. Dowdy, a veteran federal prosecutor who has been with the office since 1988, had previously served as chief of the criminal division since 2004. He will likely serve as U.S. Attorney until president Obama appoints someone to the post.

Fed Agents Find LAX Airport Can be a Zoo– Literally

Turtles seized at LAX Airport on Friday/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

On any given day, the sprawling Los Angeles International Airport known as LAX can be a zoo, locked in a frenetic pace, passengers coming and going. And then on certain days, it really, really is a zoo.

Over the past few years alone, federal law enforcement authorities have nabbed people trying to illegally smuggle in everything from lizards to songbirds. They’ve used money belts and snack boxes. One woman faked a pregnancy to smuggle a pet monkey from Thailand.

The latest incident came Friday when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service busted two Japanese men at LAX. The suspects allegedly hid 55 live turtles and tortoises in snack-food boxes packed in luggage. The turtles were all protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

Authorities charged Atsushi Yamagami, 39, and Norihide Ushirozako, 49, of Osaka, Japan, with illegally importing wildlife into the U.S. and violating the Endangered Species Act. The two men have been detained pending a Jan. 31 arraignment.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Arrests Palm Springs Man for Threatening Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott

Rep. Jim McDermott

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday arrested a 32-year-old Palms Spring, Calif., man on charges of making intimidating phone calls to a Democratic Washington state Congressman Jim McDermott that included threats to kill him, his family and friends.

Charles Turner Haberman was slated to appear in federal court in Riverside, Calif. on Wednesday.

Authorities said that Haberman made threatening expletive-laden calls to McDermott’s Seattle office on Dec. 10 around midnight. The rants included outrage over Congressional spending.

Justice Dept. Fights Back Against Attempts to Muzzle Holder and Others in Portland Terrorism Case

Eric Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is fighting back attempts by defense attorneys to muzzle Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. and other government workers when it comes to pre-trial comments in the terrorism case involving a teen who tried to detonate a bomb in Portland during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December. It ended up being an FBI sting.

Holder publicly defended the sting and subsequently the defense for Mohamed Osman Mohamud filed a motion to try and prevent pretrial comments, alleging that remarks could taint the case.

Responding to that motion, Portland Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan Knight and Jeffrey Sweet filed a brief Monday, saying:

“It is clear that the Attorney General’s remarks struck a proper balance between defendant’s due process rights and the need to inform the public on law enforcement actions.

“The need to inform the public was especially true with respect to sting operations, which although not new have garnered a lot of publicity in the context of this case and others like it.

“Based on the statements described above, defendant now seeks an Order from this Court prohibiting the Attorney General from making “inappropriate pretrial comments.” Defendant’s argument is predicated on the assumption that the Attorney General’s comments were, in fact, somehow inappropriate. They were not.

“As the chief law enforcement official for the United States government, it is entirely appropriate for the Attorney General to address issues of public concern in pending federal cases.”

Moreover, defendant has cited no precedent for the type of order he seeks, and we have found none.”

Read Government Filing

Column: We Must Stop Sociopaths Like Loughner From Getting Guns

Dan Simpson

By Dan Simpson
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There is something seriously wrong with a country in which a mentally disturbed young man can buy a semi-automatic weapon and gun down a member of Congress, a judge, a 9-year-old schoolgirl and more than a dozen other innocent people in front of a shopping center.

It gets worse when there is an answer to the question, “How could we have known this was coming?”

The alleged killer, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, had appeared in advance of Saturday’s carnage in several forums where he could have been identified as trouble-in-the-making by figures with some responsibility for security.

The first was at Pima Community College. Security officers there had been called to the classroom a reported three times to remove Mr. Loughner for disruptive behavior. Particularly given the attack that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007 by a student, with 32 killed, did it not cross their minds to call Mr. Loughner’s behavior to the attention of Arizona police?

To read more click here.

READER COMMENTS

Comment from Triggerdave | [e]
Time January 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Dan, Yours is the most cogent article I’ve read in many years although I don’t agree with your apparent position on gun control.
It appears that we the people failed ourselves both in Virginia and Arizona where I understand these States have legal recourse is in place to handle these situations. Regardless, if I as a teacher, student or parent observed such a suspicious activity (especially after the same situation at VT) I would have taken any action necessary to inform the authorities and get appropriate action taken. Come on people, open your eyes and protect yourself by speaking out about what you see and make someone in authority take the steps needed. Those who did complain allowed the bumbling authorities to shrug it off and go about their merry lives. It is those bumbling authorities who should now be fired if only as a notification to others to do their jobs!
Triggerdave is a 1966 graduate of VT, an NRA member with concealed carry permit, and grandfather of three under nine. I couldn’t bare what Christina’s family is going through. I realize that the shootings were probably too quickly performed for even the most highly trained security guard to prevent but had the bumblers taken action Loughner wouldn’t have been there.
My sincerest condolences to the victims and their families.