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FBI Arrests Az. Border Town Mayor in Arizona on Corruption Charges

Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel

Mayor Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents on Tuesday arrested the mayor of the border town of Nogales, Az., on public corruption charges including bribery, theft, fraud and money laundering, authorities said.

Mayor Garcia Von Borstel, a Democrat, was arrested at his city hall office in the morning and search warrants were executed at his home, business and government office, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said.

“Today’s arrest of Mayor Van Borstel has been a collaborative effort with the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office,” Nathan T. Gray, head of the FBI’s Phoenix office said in a statement. “When a public official allegedly commits criminal acts it erodes the public’s trust. The FBI and our law enforcement partners are determined to address public corruption at all levels of government.”

The case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office in state court.

Read more »

Inside the FBI’s Terrorism Fight; Making Friends

Ex-N.J. State Sen. Indicted Along With Attorney

Wayne Bryant

Wayne Bryant

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

Former New Jersey state Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, who is already serving a four year sentence on a public corruption conviction, was indicted Monday in another case involving allegations that he took $192,000 in bribes to support some major building projects, authorities said.

Bryant, who represented New Jersey’s 5th District, was also an equity partner in a Cherry Hill law firm. Attorney Eric D. Wisler, who was also indicted in the case, was an equity partner at a Teaneck, N.J. firm.

In 2004, Wisler, who represented developers,  arranged for Bryant’s firm to get an $8,000 per month retainer for legal fees and other costs that would help with the development projects in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

The payment fee was supposedly made to cover fees for legal work and other costs.

But authorities allege that the payments were bribes paid in exchange for official action that Bryant took in favor of the different redevelopment projects on behalf of Wisler and his clients, according to the indictment.

One of the projects included a proposed $1.2 billion redevelopment of Camden’s Cramer Hill neighborhood, which is in Bryant’s legislative district.

Bryant’s firm was paid approximately $192,000 in fees between August 2004 and August 2006, but no actual legal work took place under the retainer agreement, authorities alleged.

The indictment alleges that both Wisler and Bryant made an effort to hide the retainer agreement and they created fake invoices to try and show that Bryant’s firm was providing actual legal services.

The indictment charges Bryant and Wisler with bribery and mail fraud.

In 2008, Bryant was convicted of selling his office to get a low-work job at the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Camden to help pad his pension. In exchange, he agreed to use his influence to help the school get $10.5 million in state grants.

A Costly Dip in the Pool for Fed Prosecutor Who is Arrested

miami-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Cronin’s decision to take a little dip in the pool has created a major headache.

The Miami Herald reports Cronin was arrested Sunday in Miami  after a mother and young girl accused him of being indecent when he jumped into the pool at Finnegan’s River, a local bar overlooking the Miami River and downtown, wearing his boxers.

The Herald reported that the 35-year-old prosecutor was charged with a felony — lewd and lascivious behavior in front of a minor.

The arrest form said the girl and her mother, who were in the pool, said Cronin’s privates were exposed after getting out of the pool and the mother had to cover up her daughter’s eyes, the Herald reported.

Cronin, who is assigned to the appellate division in Miami, tried fleeing, but officers caught him, the Herald said. He was arrested about 2:30 p.m.

Cronin’s lawyer, Joel Denaro, told the Herald that the charges are “beyond absurd.”

“He went swimming in his boxer shorts, for God’s sake,” Denaro told The Miami Herald. “He did nothing wrong.”

The U.S. attorney’s office in Miami declined comment, according to the Herald.

Longest Serving Fed Prosecutor Stepping Down After 59 Years

justice dept. logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There’s longevity on the job, and then there’s John “Jack” C. Keeney.

On Friday, the Justice Department held a retirement ceremony to mark the end of his 59-year career as the longest serving federal prosecutor in U.S. history.

According to a Justice Department account of the event, as Keeney “walked on stage at 3:09 p.m., the sea of Justice Department employees past and present leapt to their feet and did not stop applauding for a full minute. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer set the tone for what he called a ‘remarkable’ day and an historic Justice Department ‘homecoming’.”

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Witness in Chandra Levy Case Was Sexually Assaulted in Prison by Suspect

Chandra Levy

Chandra Levy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office is gearing up for an Oct. 18 trial in the slaying of intern Chandra Levy in 2001.

The latest in the case came Monday when prosecutors told a D.C. Superior Court judge that Ingmar Guandique,29, the man charged in the murder, sexually assaulted a fellow inmate who is expected to testify as a key government witness, the Washington Post reported.

The witness is expected to testify that Guandique told him that he murdered a woman in Washington and “tied her down” and “hog tied” her before sexually assaulting her, the Post reported.

The Post reported that prosecutors expect the defense to argue that the witness, who was not named, was biased against Guandique because of the sexual assault in prison.

Guandique is currently serving a 10-year sentence for assaulting two women at knifepoint in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington where Levy’s skeletal remains were found one year after she disappeared.

The trial is being held in the city’s criminal court.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. handles criminal cases in both the federal and city courts.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Debra Evans Smith to Head Administrative Division at FBI’s D.C. Field Office

Debra Evans Smith/fbi photo
Debra Evans Smith/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Debra Evans Smith, who worked on the high-profile  spy case involving FBI agent Robert Hanssen, was  named special agent in charge of the Administrative Division at FBI’s Washington Field Office, the agency announced Monday.

Smith most recently served as a special assistant to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III.

Smith started her career with the FBI in May 1984 as a professional staff employee and in 1987 completed new agents’ training and was assigned to the New Orleans Field Office, where she worked different cases in such areas as civil rights and white-collar crime.

In 1989, she attended the Foreign Service Institute in Rosslyn, Va. and studied Russia. She later went to the Los Angeles FBI office to worked Russian Foreign counterintelligence and Russian organized crime.

In 1996, she went to the Washington Field Office, where she worked Russian foreign counterintelligence investigations.

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Fed Prosecutor in Ted Stevens Case Commits Suicide

justice dept. logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — One of the federal prosecutors in the botched Sen. Ted Stevens public corruption case  in Washington committed suicide over the weekend, NPR reported.

Carrie Johnson of NPR reported that that prosecutor Nick Marsh took his own life.

Marsh was one of the prosecutors in the Stevens case that imploded after prosecutors won a conviction. The Attorney General’s Office dismissed the case because of concerns about prosecutorial misconduct.  The prosecution failed to turn over certain evidence.

Subsequently, the judge in the case appointed a special prosecutor to determine whether the government broke the law and the Justice Department’s Professional Responsibility launched its own probe, NPR reported.

NPR reported that the special prosecutor’s report is expected in a few weeks, but Marsh’s lawyer, Bob Luskin, said he didn’t think that Marsh was going to be charged.

Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division released this statement:

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Nick’s family and friends on this sad day. The Department of Justice is a community, and today our community is mourning the loss of this dedicated young attorney.”