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Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr. Make Cameo Appearances in Blago Trial

Rahm Emanuel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Newly minted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a cameo appearance Thursday  in the Rod Blagojevich public corruption retrial in downtown Chicago that lasted only a few  minutes, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Under questioning by defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky, Emanuel was asked his occupation, according to the Trib.

“Mayor of the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said.

“Is it safe to say it is a new job for you?” Sorosky asked.

“Unless your subscription to the newspaper ended recently, yes,” Emanuel said.

Under questioning, Emanuel denied that  he was ever asked as a Congressman to have his brother arrange a fundraiser for Blago, in exchange for the release of a $2 million grant to a school in Emanuel’s congressional district, the Trib reported.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr./campaign photo

He also denied that he was ever asked to set up  a nonprofit that would be headed up by  Blagojevich in exchange that Blago appoint Obama’s  friend Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate, the Tribune reported.

Rep. Jackson denied allegations that he wanted to give Blago a $1.5 million campaign contribution in exchange for getting the Senate seat vacated by President Obama, the Trib reported.

Jackson testified that he had waged a very public campaign to get the appointment.

“I talked with all sorts of people about the United States Senate seat,” Jackson said, according to the Trib.

Justice Dept. Gives Green Light to Indict John Edwards, NBC Reports

John Edwards

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Once a presidential hopeful, John Edwards now faces far less hopeful times.

NBC News reports that the Justice Department has given the OK to file charges against Edwards, 57,  for alleged violations of  campaign finance laws stemming from a cover up of an extra-marital affair with Rielle Hunter.

NBC reported that a plea bargain is possible.

A federal grand jury in North Carolina is looking into the case.

Edwards ran as vice president in 2004 and also campaigned for president in 2004 and 2008.

Mobster Plotted to Kill Fed Prosecutor in NY, Witness Testifies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former boss of the Bonanno crime family Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano plotted to kill a mob-busting federal prosecutor at an upper East Side Italian restaurant over an issue of disrespect, a government witness testified Tuesday in federal court in New York, the New York Daily News reported.

Ex-mobster Dominick Cicale testified that Basciano planned to kill Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres at Campagnola, an upper East Side Italian restaurant, the Daily News reported.

The testimony came during the death penalty phase for Basciano, who was convicted last week for ordering a hit on a mobster.

Cicale testified that a private eye passed on a message to  Basciano in the spring of 2004 from then-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, who was in prison.

“Joe Massino wanted to let Vinny know the prosecutor was disrespectful … and the prosecutor ate at Campagnola’s every Thursday night,” Cicale testified, according to the Daily News.

Basciano was waiting for the OK to execute the prosecutor, but nothing ever happened, the Daily News reported.

FBI Says Corrupt U.S. Border Agents a Serious Threat

FBI Arrests Man For Being Too Friendly With Himself in the Friendly Skies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On flights across the country, there are passengers who yak too much, or lean their seat way too far back or take up your elbow rest.

And there’s Kyle Pearce, 25, in a category all to his own.

The FBI arrested the Florida man last Thursday at the Denver airport after he flew on a United flight from Spokane to Denver and masturbated on the flight “to the point of ejaculation”, according to The Smoking Gun.

He was charged with making an “obscene and indecent exposure of his person” on an aircraft, The Smoking Gun reported.

“I heard a noise and looked over and saw his penis,” said one female witness in a written statement according to The Smoking Gun. She added, “He ejaculated & got some on the seat.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Let the Show BEGIN! Blago Expected to Testify at His Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was once known for his political prowess. But in the past 18 months or so he’s been known more for being an entertaining sort.

He’s appeared on Letterman. And the Daily Show. And he did a commercial promoting pistachios. And he went on The Celebrity Apprentice with The Donald.

Now brace yourself for more entertainment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Blago plans to testify in his own defense at his corruption retrial. The paper cites “several sources familiar with the former governor’s decision.”

“Blagojevich has been preparing to take the witness stand for several days and worked in depth on his possible testimony over the weekend, sources said. It was unclear how soon he could be called to testify, but the defense is scheduled to begin presenting evidence Wednesday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse,” the Trib reported.

Too bad cameras aren’t allowed in the federal courtroom in downtown Chicago. This may well be his best performance.

Blago passed on testifying in his first trial, which for the most part, was a major embarrassment for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Blago was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts — lying to an FBI agent.

http://youtu.be/SH6B5s4uWEQ

Justice Dept. Subpoenas NY Times Pulitzer Prize Winner James Risen


Reporter James Risen
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department and the New York Times have had their fair share of battles in court over testifying.

The latest: Fed prosecutors in Alexandria, Va.,  have subpoenaed Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter James Risen to testify against a former CIA operative who is awaiting trial, Carrie Johnson of NPR reported.

NPR reported that ex-CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling is accused of leaking classified info which wound up in Risen’s book “State of War.”

The subpoena was filed Monday night in Virginia, NPR reported. The Justice Department court filing calls Risen a “critical” eyewitness. Authorities expect Risen to fight the subpoena.

The government wrote in its motion: “As we describe in the following pages, the Supreme Court has held that absent a showing that a criminal proceeding is being conducted in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment, there exists neither a First Amendment nor a common law reporter’s privilege that shields a reporter from his obligation to testify, even if the reporter’s testimony reveals confidential sources and information.”

“Moreover, the Government is unaware of any case in which a court has excluded from a jury’s consideration the testimony of a reporter who personally witnessed a crime, let alone crimes like the ones charged here that are alleged to have endangered the nation’s security. Accordingly, to resolve this issue as expeditiously as possible, we move for the admission of Mr. Risen’s testimony.”

To read more click here.

Read Government Motion

Chicago Fed Trial Offers Evidence of Pakistani Intelligence Links to Terrorism

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Three weeks after Osama bin Laden was killed, and Americans accused Pakistan of knowing of his whereabouts,  damaging evidence against Pakistan’s intelligence agency has surfaced.

The New York Times reports that the government’s leading witness in a federal trial in downtown Chicago involving the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008 implicated the Pakistan intelligence agency in the plot during testimony on Monday.

Government witness David C. Headley testified that he trained with the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba between 2002 and 2005 in preparation for scouting locations to attack in India, the New York Times reported.

In 2006, Headley testified that he met with a Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence Agency officer, who offered financial support for the surveillance.

To read more.