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Ex-Detroit Mayor Hammered Again: Indicted on Public Corruption Charges with Father and Others

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing an avalanche of legal trouble, was hammered again on Wednesday when a federal grand jury in Detroit  indicted him, his father, a city contractor and former aides on public corruption charges centering on government contracts and kickbacks.

In announcing the 38-count  indictment at a televised afternoon press conference, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Kilpatrick used  “his public office as a corrupt organization.”  Authorities said the probe was ongoing for six-years.

Kilpatrick, 40,  once dubbed the “hip hop mayor”,   is currently in prison, serving time for failing to pay $1 million in restitution after he pleaded in 2008 to obstruction of justice charges for  lying  about an affair with his chief of staff and about the discharge of a police official while  under oath during a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lies were revealed in Kilpatrick’s text messages the Detroit Free Press published.

He was sentenced in May to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

A month later, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 federal counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and filing a false tax return. He was Detroit mayor from 2002 to 2008.

Others indicted Wednesday  included Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick, city contractor Bobby Ferguson, former top Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller and former water department chief Victor Mercado.

The indictment alleged that the defendants extorted money from municipal contracts and were knee-deep in bribery.

Authorities alleged that city contractor Ferguson kicked back at least $424,000 in cash and other items of value to Mayor Kilpatrick, and that the mayor used more than $590,000 of ill-gotten cash from the conspiracy to pay off credit card bills, buy clothes and pay off loans.

Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who had long been under federal investigation, allegedly put $600,000 in cash into his bank accounts and was charged with filing  false tax returns.

U.S. Attorney McQuade, addressing criticisms that her office is piling on charges, said the new charges were far more significant than the ones Kilpatrick has faced in the past two years.  Plus, she said she wanted to send a message to politicians that leaving office doesn’t get you off the hook.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Shot and Killed at Arizona-Mexico Border

istock file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot and killed Tuesday night at the Arizona-Mexico border and at least four people were in custody, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Last night, Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed after he encountered several suspects near Rio Rico, Ariz.,” the agency said. “At least four suspects are in custody while one is still being pursued. Agent Terry’s murder is a tragic reminder of the ever-present dangers U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, Air & Marine and Border Patrol agents face as they protect our nation’s borders.”

The Customs and Border Protection Commissioner  Alan Bersin said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss. Our commitment to Agent Terry and his family is that we will do everything possible to bring to justice those responsible for this despicable act.”

The Arizona Republic reported that Terry, 40, a Michigan native, was killed at about 11 p.m. near Peck Canyon, about 10 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border west of Rio Rico on the Interstate 19. He was a member of BORTAC, the border patrol’s special response team, assigned to the Naco station, the paper reported.

“We believe he was killed by illegal alien ‘bandits’ north of Nogales during a shootout,” said The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing agents, the paper reported.

Janet Napolitano

Meanwhile, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement on Wednesday:

“The fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry last night is an unconscionable act of violence against the men and women of the Border Patrol and all those who serve and defend our country.”

“We are working with other federal, state and local authorities to ensure those responsible for this horrendous act are held responsible. We will leave no stone unturned as we seek justice for the perpetrators.”

Ga. Man Pleads Guilty in International Online Child Porn Bulletin Board

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Georgia man pleaded guilty Monday in Los Angeles to transporting child pornography using a secret Internet bulletin board that allowed approximately three dozen members to trade thousands of images and videos of child pornography depicting young boys in sexually explicit situations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

David Michael Fagerness, 44, who pleaded guilty, is one of 16 defendants charged in the U.S. in an international investigation dubbed “Lost Boy”, authorities said. The bulletin board was shut down about two years ago.

Authorities said so far five of the 16 defendants hyave pleaded guilty.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said law enforcement authorities learned of the Lost Boy bulletin board from Eurojust, the judicial cooperation arm of the European Union.

“The Lost Boy bulletin board allowed members to access pornographic images of hundreds of boys who were victimized for sexual purposes,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The investigation by officials here in the United States, working in conjunction with their law enforcement counterparts around the globe, shut down an international child pornography ring and will hopefully bring some justice to the numerous victims.

“As a result of this investigation, authorities also discovered individuals who abused children, made their own child pornography and shared their disturbing product with others on the Internet.”

FBI Assists Swedish Authorities in Suicide Bombing

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A seven-member FBI team has gone to Sweden to help sort out the the botched explosion over the weekend that killed a 28-year-old suicide bomber in a crowded shopping district in Stockholm, the New York Times reported.

The Times reported that the FBI experts specialize in analyzing bomb fragments, and  that Swedish officials suspect the Iraqi-born bomber Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly likely had accomplices. Authorities were anxious to follow those leads.

Authorities say the bomber used a crude bomb. Media reports suggested the the Middle East-born man was carrying a bomb he planned to detonate  at a train station or department store when it prematurely exploded.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qODlKbt1QLo

Va. Man Accused of Threatening on Facebook to Bomb D.C. Metro

15 People Extradited From Mexico


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — One of the things Colombian drug lords hated most back in the day — getting extradited to the U.S. — is now happening with the Mexican cartel members with more frequency since they took over the distribution networks in the U.S.

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced that 15 people from Mexico have been extradited over the past week from Mexico to the U.S. to either stand trial, be sentenced or serve sentences. Twelve of the 15 are charged with federal narcotics-related offenses and the remaining three are accused of violent crimes in state-prosecuted cases.

“Extraditions are an important tool we have to ensure that criminals are brought to justice in this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“Over the past decade, the Department of Justice has established stronger partnerships with Mexico in many areas of law enforcement, including extraditions to and from each country. With these extraditions of individuals who committed or stand charged with violent and dangerous crimes, we look forward to seeing those partnerships continue to strengthen.”

Authorities said three of the people are charged in the Northern District of Illinois and were arriving Tuesday in Chicago. Nine others left Mexico and arrived in Houston Saturday morning and three others arrived in the United States over the course of the past week.

The Justice Department said the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI are involved in transporting the defendants to jurisdictions where they face charges.

The extradited defendants are the following, as stated in a press release:

Oscar Jacobo Rivera Peralta, Ricardo Valdez Torres and Alfredo Molina Garcia: Northern District of Illinois; According to court documents, from approximately 2001 until 2006, Peralta, Torres and Garcia were members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the importation of cocaine, heroin and synthetic heroin into the United States for distribution. The defendants are charged with narcotics trafficking-related offenses.

Read more »

Jack Abramoff Finishes Sentence; Stops Working at Baltimore Kosher Pizzeria

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who made his fair share of doe working politicians on the Hill, is finished working at a kosher Baltimore pizza joint now that he’s finished his sentence and is on supervised release, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Abramoff, who was convicted on corruption, fraud and conspiracy charges, was released from fed prison on June 8, and then went on home confinement, which just ended on Dec. 3, according to the Bureau of Prisons records.

While on home confinement, he worked for Tov Pizza on marketing and customer outreach. The Hebrew word “tov” means good in English.

Tov Pizza owner Ron Rosenbluth told AP that Abramoff might occasionally stop by.

GAO Report Finds U.S. Attorneys Declined 50% of Cases in Indian Country

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A government report found that U.S. Attorney’s Offices declined 50 percent of the cases from American Indian reservations from 2005-2009, the Associated Press reported.

The Government Accountability Office report found that Federal prosecutors resolved 9,000 of the 10,000 cases they got during that period. Half were declined for prosecution and the others were prosecuted or administratively closed, AP reported.

“The most frequent reason for declining cases was weak or insufficient admissible evidence, followed by no evidence of a federal crime, witness problems and a lack of evidence that a suspect had criminal intent,” AP reported.

AP reported that the report came as a result of congressional inquiries in the declination rate.

AP reported that H. Marshall Jarrett, director of the Department of Justice’s executive office of U.S. attorneys, said the declination rates was not indicative of the efforts to imrpove public safety in Indian Country.

“Each case must be evaluated on the evidence available to the prosecutor,” he said in a letter responding to the findings. “Accordingly, it would not be appropriate to use the data contained in this report to promote any kind of prosecutorial quota system or incentives to prosecute a higher number of individuals.”

U.S. attorneys in Arizona, South Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and North Dakota received 73 percent of all Indian Country criminal matters, AP reported.

To read report click here.