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4 Ex-U.S. Attys. Win Republican Primary Bids; Fifth Gets Trounced

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Bush Holdover U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four ex-U.S. Attorney’s won Republican primary bids Tuesday for public office. But perhaps in the most interesting race,  a  fifth ex-U.S. Attorney, Republican Mary Beth Buchanan —  a controversial figure during her reign as the top Pittsburgh prosecutor — got trounced in a contentious battle for the 4th Congressional District seat.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Buchanan was defeated by a relative unknown, attorney and ex-Bush official Keith Rothfus. The paper called it an upset that “was the culmination of a surprising campaign characterized by stinging attacks on both sides.”

Buchanan blamed her defeat on the anti-incumbent sentiment in the nation, even though she was not an elected official, the Post-Gazette reported. She was appointed by President Bush and stayed on for a while under the Obama administration. She got about a third of the votes.

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Tom Corbett/ pa. state photo

Elsehwere around the country, according to the website Main Justice, which closely tracks U.S. Attorneys, former Arkansas U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin won the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District in Arkansas.

Three former Pennsylvania U.S. Attorneys won their contests in that state, according to Main Justice.  Pennsylania Attorney General Tom Corbett, a former U.S. Attorney,  won the Republican bid for Pennsylvania governor; Pat Meehan was unopposed in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat held by Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, who defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary; and  Tom Marino won his bid in the Republican primary for a Congressional seat.

Detroit Fed Judge Sets Some Hutaree Militia Members Free

Christian Militia Hutaree patch/from website

Christian Militia Hutaree patch/from website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Three members of the Hutaree Christian militia in Michigan charged with plotting to kill cops were released Tuesday and a fourth was expected to go free Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts on Tuesday released Tina Stone 44, David Stone Jr., 19, and Jacob Ward, 33, after the U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped it’s legal battle to keep them behind bars.

Kristopher Sickles, 27, is expected to be released Wednesday, but five others will remain behind bars pending their appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals to go free pending trial.

Judge Roberts had ordered all nine free, saying they did not appear to pose a danger to the community, a ruling that raised questions about the strength of the case. But U.S. Attorney’s Office appealed that ruling.

Court records show all three released Tuesday must adhere to number of restrictions. For one, they must live with their parents and refrain from drinking alcohol, using a police scanner and associating with members of a militia or paramiltary group.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Somali Pirate Pleads Guilty in Manhattan

pirates-of-the-caribbeanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After decades of seeing pirates portrayed in Hollywood as sword waving, one eye-patched, mythical figures, America has gotten a real life glimpse of the 21st Century Pirate. And he’s not nearly as suave.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, a Somali pirate, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Manhattan federal court to leading the attack on the U.S. vessel Maersk Alabama about 350 miles off the coast of Somali in April 2009. He also pleaded guilty to the hijacking of two other vessels in March and April of last year.

In the case of the  Maersk Alabama, authorities alleged that he and a group of pirates boarded the ship and then took Capt. Richard Phillips hostage on a life boat.

CNN reported that he apologized through an interpreter during court proceedings.

“What we did was wrong. I am very sorry for all of this,” Muse said, according to CNN. “All of this happened because of the government in Somalia.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement after the guilty plea, saying:

“Today, Abduwali Abdukhadir Musé admitted his leadership role in the armed hijacking of an American-flagged vessel and two international ships in the Indian Ocean. The five-day Maersk hijacking and the events leading up to it make clear that modern-day piracy is a crime against the international community and a form of terrorism on the high seas.”

Read Justice Department Press Release

The Salahis Still Under the Microscope

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It seems one way or another, authorities are going to figure out a way to make the Ken and Barbie couple known as Tareq and Michaele Salahi regret that they ever crashed the White House party last November 24.

The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column reports that not only are federal prosecutors still mulling over the possibility of criminal charges, but U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking into a $100,000 grant Tareq Salahi got to study the impact of Virginia winery tourism. The grant probe was first reported by the Washington Examiner.

The Post, citing “a source”, says that investigators are looking into whether Salahi simply recycled the results of an earlier study.

And on top of that, the column reports that Virginia officials are still probing fundraising activities of the Salahis through their business entity America’s Polo Cup.

Philly Immigration Judge Boots Nazi Death Camp Guard From U.S.

swatsikaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Philly immigration judge has ordered the deportation of an 85-year-old man who served as an SS guard at three Nazi concentration camps during World War II, the Justice Department announced.

U.S. Immigration Judge Charles Honeyman ordered that Anton Geiser, of Sharon, Pa., be sent to Austria, where he immigrated from after the war. The written court ruling noted that Geiser, through his attorney,  “generally admitted all of the factual allegations” in the government’s case, the Justice Department said.

Read more »

Suspected NY Car Bomber Arraigned in Manhattan

Morning in ManhattanBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Suspected NY car bomber Faisal Shahzad who had been holed up in an undisclosed location talking to investigators without an attorney since his arrest May 3, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Manhattan shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The New York Times  reported that Shahzad, 30, was wearing gray shirt and gray pants, and did not enter a plea. He only said “yes” to a question about his strapped finances, when then allowed U .S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV to appoint an attorney,  federal defender Julia Gatto, who was sitting at his side, the Times reported.

Gatto asked the judge to make sure he is served food certified as halal, which adheres to Islamic dietary laws.  Authorities said he will now be housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

He faces charges of  attempting terrorism by attempting to kill people; attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; using a destructive device in connection with an attempted crime of violence; transporting explosives; and attempting to destroy property with fire and explosives. He faces up to life in prison, but could get a break on a sentence for freely cooperating, legal experts have said.

Whether his level of cooperation will change now that he has an attorney is unclear.  Some other terror suspects including the underwear bomber in Detroit continued to cooperate after getting attorneys.

U.S. Immigration Judge Grants Asylum for Pres. Obama’s Kenyan Aunt

obama auntBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After a protracted legal battle, President Barack Obama’s Kenyan aunt has been granted asylum, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. Immigration judge in Boston mailed the decision on Friday, AP reported. The aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is the half sister of Obama’s later father. A person must prove that they will be persecuted if they return to their homeland.

AP reported that the reason for her request was never made public. But her lawyer had previously said she applied for asylum because of the violence in that country.

She first moved to the U.S. in 2000 on a valid visa, and was ordered deported in 2004 after he request for asylum was rejected.  But she remained in the country and was living in public housing in Boston. The New York Times reported that she first sought asylum in 2002.

The legal battle became fodder for anti-Obama forces.

Pakistani Ambassador Says 3 Men in NY Bomb Case Not Terrorists

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

Ambassador Husain Haqqani/embassy photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The three Pakistani men rounded up last week as part of the ongoing probe into the New York car bomb incident don’t appear to have links to terrorism, the Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. told the Boston Globe.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani of Washington, whose statement was based on briefings from Pakistani officials, said it appears the men were taken into custody during questioning because of immigration violations, the Globe reported.

“For all we know, there will be no connection at the end of it,” Haqqani told the Globe in a telephone interview. “I’m a little critical of law enforcement who ran to the press first, because you can actually destroy people’s lives. So far, there is nothing that implies anything of a terrorist nature.”

After the FBI raids in three different states last week, authorities said the men may have provided money to the suspected car bomber Faisal Shahzad, but it was unclear if they knew what he was up to.

The Globe reported that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New York and Boston declined comment.

To read more click here.