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Minn. FBI Issues Apology; Says 2 Homicide Victims Weren’t Gang Members

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooops.

The Minneapolis FBI on Friday apologized for saying that two homicide victims were members of gangs.

“Donald E. Oswald, Special Agent in Charge of the Minneapolis FBI office, today regrets to announce that the FBI made an error in a press release that was released yesterday regarding the arrest of fugitive Carlos Maurico Lizama, 29, of Baltimore, Maryland,” the FBI said in a press release.

“The press release stated that the two homicide victims were members of the 18th Street Gang. In fact, the two victims were not affiliated to any gang. The FBI apologizes for this mistake.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICE ACT STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agents Get Leeway to Push Privacy Bounds

city of chester photo

By Charlie Savage
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.

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The F.B.I. soon plans to issue a new edition of its manual, called the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, according to an official who has worked on the draft document and several others who have been briefed on its contents. The new rules add to several measures taken over the past decade to give agents more latitude as they search for signs of criminal or terrorist activity.

The F.B.I. recently briefed several privacy advocates about the coming changes. Among them, Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that it was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing.

To read full story click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Detroit Drug World

It’s Blago Time: Chicago Fed Jury Begins Deliberating Friday


Blagojevich as governor/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s the moment of truth.

Jury deliberations in Blago II — the retrial of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich —  begins Friday.

Don’t expect a quick verdict.

The jury will have to plow through 20 counts, which should take some time.

No Surprise: Raleigh U.S. Attorney George Holding Announces Resignation

U.S. Atty. George Holding

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a move that comes as no surprise, Raleigh U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding announced his resignation Friday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

The announcement by the Bush appointee comes in wake of the indictment of twice-presidential hopeful John Edwards. The resignation is effective July 8, the paper reported.

North Carolina’s two senators had agreed to leave Holding in the post until the conclusion of the case to avoid accusations of politics and any attempt to slow the probe.

President Obama has nominated Thomas Walker of Charlotte to be the new U.S. Attorney. He has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Holding was appointed to the post by President Bush in 2006.

Big-Time NY Lawyer Has Lost Mob Clients After Cooperating With the Feds

Joseph Tacopina/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The headline on the website Gang Land News says it all: “Red Hot NY Lawyer Tacopina Gets Big Chill From Wiseguys.”

The headline was in reference to hotshot lawyer Joseph Tacopina, who was once the go-to guy for a lot of mobsters.

But no more — apparently not since he became a cooperating witness and dished  info to the feds.

“While Tacopina has represented numerous wiseguys and cohorts of at least four New York area crime families in years past, his current roster of clients appears devoid of mob-tied customers, local court databases show,” writes Jerry Capeci, editor of Gang Land News.

Gang Land News reported that Tacopina’s wiseguy clients seemed to vanish after he found himself in the middle of a fee-splitting and tax evasion probe of a prominent New York lawyers  and became a cooperating witness. Gang Land reported that the probe stemmed from an investigation into former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was a Tacopina client.

Gangland reported that Tacopina became a cooperating witness against Kerik and also told federal investigators that he had funneled about $100,000 to attorney Ronald Fischetti ” from legal fees that he had received from a client whom Fischetti had referred to him in a major state court prosecution.”

Gang Land reported that the fee splitting is not a crime, but could lead to disciplinary action. It can also lead to criminal tax problems. The investigation never lead to any criminal charges.

Still, Gang Land News quoted an unnamed defense attorney as saying:

“It’s an open secret that Tacopina threw Fischetti under the bus four years ago, and that’s a really big issue for wiseguys – and lots of lawyers too.”

Tacopina declined to comment for Gang Land News.  Fischetti told the website that the allegations against him were not true.

N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Assigned to U.S. Marshals Task Force Shot and Killed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service task force was shot and killed Thursday while trying to serve an arrest warrant in a murder in Kinston, N.C., station WRAL reported.

The station reported that the deputy, Warren “Sneak” Lewis, was a nine-year veteran of the Nash County Sheriff’s Department.

The station reported that Lewis was approaching a home around 7 p.m. to serve a warrant when someone opened fire. The station reported that five people were detained, including three suspected in a June 2 murder.

“Investigator Lewis was a gentle soul and would go out of his way to give you the shirt off his back, if he thought you needed it. He will definitely be missed, and he leaves a void at this office that will never be filled,” Sheriff Dick Jenkins said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Republicans Delay Judiciary Committee Vote on Mueller’s Extension; Gives the Nod to 3 U.S. Attorneys

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Legislation that would enable FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to extend his 10-year term by two years seems all but certain to pass.

But it may not be with out a little resistance.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote Thursday on the legislation. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) said he wanted more time to get answers to some questions, according to the news website Main Justice. The bill was held over til the next meeting.

Grassley said the process should move forward in an orderly fashion after pressing questions are answered, Main Justice reported.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the panel had an opportunity during a hearing on Wednesday to get answers and that the delay could be risky with a the limited time Congress has with upcoming Congressional recesses.

The committee on Thursday also gave the nod to U.S. Attorney nominees Felicia Adams for the Northern District of  Mississippi, Ronald Sharpe for the Virgin Islands and George Beck for the Middle District of Alabama, Main Justice reported.