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Feds Won’t Appeal Witness Ban in NY Gitmo Trial

Judge Kaplan

Judge Kaplan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Saying they didn’t wish to delay the trial, federal prosecutors on Sunday said they won’t appeal a judge’s ruling that bans a key witness from testifying in the first criminal trial of Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspect, Reuters news service reported.

“The government . . . has decided not to pursue an appeal from the court’s decision,” said a letter from the New York U.S. Attorney’s Office to the presiding judge in the case, Reuters reported.

The letter said the government case is sufficient without the witness.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan cause a delay in the trial when he ruled that the witness, Hussein Abebe, couldn’t be used in the trial against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is accused of conspiring in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

The judge ruled that the government discovered the name of the witness during a harsh interrogation of the defendant in an overseas jail run by the CIA. The government insisted it would have learned about Abebe even without the interrogation, an argument the judge rejected.

Prosecutors had said that the witness told FBI agents he had sold the defendant explosives for one of the bombings.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Top Goal in Afghanistan Should Still be to Capture bin Laden

Jack Devine ,a former CIA deputy director of operations and chief of the CIA Afghan Task Force from 1986 to 1987, is president of the Arkin Group, a private intelligence company based in New York.

bin Laden said getting weapons of mass destruction was a "religious duty"

Osama bin Laden

By Jack Devine
Washington Post Outlook Section

There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is foremost on the minds of the courageous CIA and Special Forces officers in Afghanistan who are looking for him.

Where he hasn’t appeared lately is in the debates about what the United States is trying to achieve in Afghanistan and whether our emphasis should be on counterinsurgency and nation-building or on counterterrorism.

It has been nine long years since bin Laden and his disciples attacked the United States, bringing about the catastrophic loss of American lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and more in the military battles that followed.

The debate about where we are headed in Afghanistan must include finding bin Laden.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Bugsy Siegal and the Mob and Las Vegas

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTmQ3tk6_vU

Michigan Couple Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison in Extortion Attempt Involving Actor John Stamos

John Stamos

John Stamos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan man and woman convicted of trying to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos were each sentenced to four years in prison Friday in U.S. District Court in Marquette in  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The couple, Scott Edward Sippola 31, and Allison Lenore Coss,24, both of Marquette, Mi., were convicted following a four day jury trial in July.

Authorities said the two began sending Stamos emails in November 2009, saying they had compromising photos of him that they planned to sell to tabloids unless he forked over $680,000. Stamos went to the FBI.

On Dec. 2, 2009, both defendants were arrested near the K.I. Sawyer International airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, authorities said.

Authorities said Coss met Stamos in Orlando in April 2004 during a trip to Disney World. Authorities said Coss was a party with Stamos and about eight others.

Stamos told authorities they developed a friendship and communicated by email, and he testified in court that nothing improper happened at the party and he didn’t believe compromising photos existed.

The FBI never found compromising photos.

Arab-American Student Finds FBI GPS Device on Car; FBI Comes Knocking For It

santa claraBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ooops!

The publication WIRED reports that a student in  California, the son of an Islamic-American community leader, found a GPS device on his car during an oil change and the FBI came knocking to get it back.

The whole thing started last Sunday when Yasir Afifi, a 20-year-old American born business marketing student at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif., discovered the device while getting an oil change at Ali’s Auto Care, WIRED reported.

The mechanic saw a mysterious wire near the right rear wheel and exhaust and removed it, WIRED reported. A friend of Ali’s then posted a photo the the GPS device online, according to an interview with Ali.

Two days later, WIRED reported, the FBI came for the device and Afifi turned it over. Afifi said that comments from agents indicated he’d been under surveillance for at least three months, but Afifi added he’d done nothing to warrant the attention.

WIRED said San Francisco FBI spokesman Pete Lee declined to acknowledge the existence of the device, saying:

“I can’t really tell you much about it, because it’s still an ongoing investigation.”

mbObll

U.S. Marshals Service Joins Hunt for Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Now after 15 years on the lam, the U.S. Marshals Service has joined the hunt for 81-year-old mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston Globe reported.

A U.S. deputy Marshal has been assigned full time to the FBI-led Bulger Task Force, which is comprised of State Police, FBI agents, and state Department of Correction officers, the Globe reported.

U.S. Marshal John Gibbons issued a statement Thursday saying his agency “has a long-standing reputation as being expert fugitive investigators, and we look forward to providing the FBI with our assistance in this matter. It is our hope that this joint initiative will ultimately lead to the arrest of Bulger so he can face justice.”

Bulger, an FBI informant who is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, vanished before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston, the Globe reported. He later was charged with 19 murders.

Busted: Man Drove Around Washington With Fake Diplomatic Tags

diplomatic tagBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — To Nicholas Marino: Nice try.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old Washingtonian was sentenced here to two years probation, 240 hours of a community service and fined $500 for using fake diplomatic license tags.

Authorities say U.S. Secret Service police stopped him for speeding in his Mitsubishi SUV last Nov. 20 on 15th Street Northwest in Washington.

Marino told the officer he had diplomatic immunity because he was a diplomat at the Italian embassy. Officers checked and found that he was not a diplomat and that the “diplomatic tags” were not registered to the car and were not the property of the Italian embassy, authorities said.

Four Days later, Marino told investigators that he purhcased the fake diplomatic tags from a store kiosk in Kennesaw, Ga., which makes novelty plates.

Additionally, he found a picture of a Department of State seal on the Internet and affixed a copy on the back of his driver’s license, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Detroit Political Consultant Sam Riddle Gets 37 Months

Sam Riddle/facebook

Sam Riddle/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Detroit political consultant Sam Riddle, who created drama by defying court gag orders and posting comments on Twitter and Facebook, was hit Wednesday with a 37 months federal sentence for bribery and extortion, the Detroit News reported.

Riddle, 64, admitted bribing former Southfield City Councilman William Lattimore, tax evasion and extorting businesses when he worked for the now imprisoned Detroit City Council Member Monica Conyers, wife of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi.) She was convicted on public corruption charges.

He vowed to return to politics and teach a new generation to avoid mistakes, the News reported.

“You can shackle my arms, you can shackle my feet, but you can’t shackle my soul,” he said, according to the News