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Justice Department Agrees Not to Seek Death Penalty Against Chicago Man in Mumbai Killings

Chicago
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has agreed not to seek the death penalty for a Chicago man as part of his guilty plea in connection with the the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008, the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

David Coleman Headley, 49, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, pleaded guilty Thursday in Chicago and admitted scouting targets in preparation for the Mumbai attack that killed about 170 people. Six were Americans.

Headley admitted attending training camps in Pakistan operated by a terrorist organization Lashkar e Tayyiba and he traveled to India five times before the bombings to conduct surveillance. (Read Plea Agreement)

Read more »

Long-Time Fugitive Pleads Guilty in NY to Hijacking Plane to Cuba in 1968

pan am
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man who was a fugitive for nearly 41 years pleaded guilty Thursday in  Manhattan federal court in the hijacking of Puerto Rican bound Pan American Flight 281 to Havana on Nov. 24, 1968, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Luis Armnando Pena Soltren, 67, the long-time fugitive, voluntarily surrendered to federal authorities in the U.S. in October 2009.

Authorities charged that he, along with some other men, wielded pistols and knives aboard the plane, forced their way into the airplane cabin and ordered the crew to land in Havana.

His fellow hijackers Jose Rafael Rios Cruz, now 68, was apprehended in 1975, and Miguel Castro, now 79, was captured in 1976, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Cruz was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Castro got 12 years.

Pena Soltren faces up to  life in prison. Sentencing is set for June 29.

Inmate Broke Bernie Madoff’s Nose and Ribs, Wall Street Journal Reports

butner-prisonBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some inmate did to Bernie Madoff what plenty of his investors probably wanted to do: He beat him up and broke a few things.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Madoff, who is serving a 150-sentence in Butner federal prison in North Carolina, was beaten up in December and got a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face.

At time of the incident, the prison denied reports of a physical attack. The Journal cited three people familiar with the attack and said an inmate described the injuries.

To Read More click here.

Two Ex-High Ranking FBI Agents to Review North Carolina’s Crime Lab

N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo
N.C. Atty. General Roy Cooper/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two ex-assistant directors of the FBI have been tasked with reviewing North Carolina’s crime lab, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said.

The review by ex-FBI agents Chris Swecker and Mike Wolf comes in wake of “a groundbreaking exoneration of a man wrongly accused in a 1991 murder”, according to the Associated Press.

The North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered the review of “cases and practices from the early 1990s as well as current methods” after a judge exonerated Greg Taylor for the 1991 murder, AP reported.

Swecker, an attorney and North Carolina native, was formerly the FBI special agent in charge of the North Carolina office and later served as executive assistant director in charge of nine FBI divisions, including the science and forensic lab division, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Attorney General.

Wolf, who has a masters degree in forensic science, is the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Connecticut division and was assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group, the press release said. He led an inspection team brought in to fix problems at the FBI crime lab in 1998-1999.

The Attorney General’s Office said the review “will run concurrently with the State Bureau of Investigation’s internal review of current practices and policies at the crime lab.”

President and VP Doing a Heck of a Lot of International Travel Compared With Other Administrations

obama

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

Mark Sullivan/s.s. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden haven’t been shy about traveling out of the country.

Mark Sullivan, the director of the U.S. Secret Service, told a Congressional panel Thursday morning that President Obama went on 31 international trips in his first year in office, a “significant increase when compared to previous administrations’ first year in office.”

He said Biden had traveled on 21 international trips his first year compared to Vice President Cheney’s one trip.

Sullivan, who appeared before a House Appropriations subcommittee to discuss the agency’s budget, also noted that threats against President Obama “are at the same level they were for the last two administrations at this point in their administrations.”

On the issue of  travel,  Wikipedia says that the first six presidents to travel internationally went by ship.

” The first four presidential trips by airplane were the four WWII conferences: Casablanca, Tehran, Yalta (FDR attended during the war), and Potsdam (Truman attended after the war). President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to travel by jet and the first to travel via helicopter,” the online encylopedia wrote.

Feds Indict 2 Computer Programmers for Madoff

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Bernie Madoff’s house of cards continues to crumble.

Two computer programmers for Madoff’s investment firm– George Perez and Jerome O’Hara — were indicted Wednesday in New York on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records.

Authorities charged that the men helped dupe the Securities and Exchange Commission and a European accounting firm by developing and maintaining “computer programs that generated numerous false and fraudulent records.” The European firm was reviewing Madoff’s records on behalf of a client.

Each man faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Senate Passes Bill to Lessen Sentences for Crack Cocaine

Sen. Leahy

Sen. Leahy

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A bill that lessens the sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine sailed through the Senate Wednesday night, the website Main Justice reported.

The Fair Sentencing Act establishes an 18-to-1 sentencing ratio for crack and powder cocaine offenses as opposed to the current 100-to-1 ratio. In other words, a person with crack cocaine currently gets the same mandatory sentence as someone with 100 times the amount of powdered cocaine.

“After more than 20 years, the Senate has finally acted on legislation to correct the crack-powder disparity and the harm to public confidence in our justice system it created,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a news release, according to Main Justice.

“Although this bill is not perfect and it is not the bill we introduced in order to correct these inequalities, I believe the Fair Sentencing Act moves us one step closer to reaching the important goal of equal justice for all.”

To read more click here.

“JihadJane” Confessed to FBI

JihadJane/6abc

JihadJane/6abc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The woman nicknamed “JihadJane” has confessed to the FBI about helping plot the murder of a Swedish cartoonist, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The paper, citing “two people close to the investigation” reported that Colleen LaRose gave her confession shortly after she was arrested in October at Philadelphia International Airport where she had just arrived from London.

The Inquirer reported that, according to a federal law enforcement source said LaRose,46, travelled to Europe to visit with co-conspirators in Ireland.

To read more click here.