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Sen. Specter Introduces Legislation Making Witness Intimidation in Local Cases a Fed Crime

Sen. Specter/gov photo

Sen. Specter/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As any local or federal prosecutor in urban America can tell you, witness intimidation is a big problem.

In fact, in Baltimore, a gang member made some popular videos warning people not to “snitch”. And tv shows like HBO’s popular “The Wire” show the downfall of snitching: death.

That being said, who knows how much a difference this will make — considering some of the people who intimidate or kill witnesses don’t really care about the law. Still, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that makes it a federal crime to threaten, harm, or kill a witness in a local criminal case, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The paper reported that Specter said he was reacting to an Inquirer series that concluded that witness fear was a factor in “virtually every violent-crime prosecution in Philadelphia.”

“Unless witnesses can be assured they will be protected, the problem of witess intimidation cannot be expected to go away,” Specter said on the Senate floor, according to the Inquirer.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: Bernie Kerik — Ego, Power, Money

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Leonard Levitt wrote the column “One Police Plaza” for the newspaper Newsday about the New York City police department. Before joining Newsday, he worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Detroit News, as a correspondent for Time Magazine, and as the investigations editor of the New York Post.

By Leonard Levitt
Huffington Post

Bernard Kerik had to wait his turn and pass through the metal detector of the federal courthouse in White Plains last Thursday just like any civilian. The federal marshals, however, still called him, “Commissioner.”

New York City’s 40th police commissioner looked as though he had lost 20 or 30 pounds. His once-massive shoulders had shrunk to normal size.

Beside him was his wife Hala, whom Kerik ushered into the courtroom, where he was to learn just how long and hard his fall from grace would be. With her long dark hair, heart-shaped face and shapely figure, Kerik’s wife resembled, of all people, Judith Regan, his glamorous book publisher and former mistress who is now terrified of him.

Kerik ignored this reporter, whom he had stopped speaking to months ago. Like all of us who were genuinely fond of Kerik and imagined we knew him, the judge about to take away his freedom for four years struggled to understand him.

To read more click here.

Elizabeth Fries to Head FBI’s Louisville Division

Elizabeth Fries/fbi photo

Elizabeth Fries/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire

Elizabeth A. Fries,  special assistant to the associate deputy director at FBI headquarters, is taking over the agency’s Louisville division as special agent in charge.

Fries joined the FBI in 1991 and was first assigned to the Indianapolis Division where she worked a variety of cases including public corruption and bank fraud, the FBI said.

Later, she was off to the Office of the Independent Counsel in Little Rock, Ark. as part of the Whitewater investigation, the FBI said. In 1998, she headed north to New York to investigate organized crime.

In 2000, she arrived at the mothership, headquarters, as a supervisory special agent in the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters.

She went on to some other assignments and in 2006 became assistant special agent in charge of the Miami office. In 2008, she was named special assistant to the associate deputy director, where she provided counsel to the associate deputy director on a variety of policy, technical, budget, and administrative matters, the FBI said.

Atty Gen. Eric Holder Discusses Guilty Plea of Admitted Terrorist Zazi: “We are At War”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDCybf2n7Y8

ATF Files Shed Light on Husband of Ala. Prof Who Went on Shooting Rampage

Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo

Prof. Amy Bishop/university photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF files released on Monday shed some new light on the husband of  Alabama professor Amy Bishop who killed and wounded some of her co-workers after going on a shooting rampage.

The latest revolves around a 1993 incident in which two pipe bombs were mailed to the Newton home of Harvard professor Paul Rosenberg.

Rosenberg, a medical professor and doctor at Children’s Hospital in Boston, told investigators at the time he had a hand in making Bishop resign as a post doctoral research fellow at the hospital, the Boston Globe reported.

The released ATF files show that a witness told investigators that Bishop’s husband Jimmy E. Anderson Jr. had said he “wanted to get back at” the doctor by shooting, bombing, stabbing, or strangling him, the Globe reported.

Anderson and his wife were questioned, but never charged in the case.

To read the full story click here.

Supervisor of Anthrax Suspect Has Doubts About FBI’s Investigation

Bruce Ivins

Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Not everyone is buying into the FBI’s findings that scientist Bruce Ivins was the anthrax killer — including his supervisor.

The Frederick News Post  in Frederick, Md., where Ivins worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, reports that Ivins’ supervisor Jeffrey Adamovicz wasn’t impressed with the FBI findings released last week which pointed the finger at Ivins, who committed suicide before authorities could charge him. The FBI also announced the official closing of the case.

“The evidence is still very circumstantial and unconvincing as a whole,” Adamovicz, the former chief of bacteriology, wrote in an e-mail to the paper. “I’m curious as to why they closed the case while the (National Academy of Science) review is still ongoing. Is it because the review is going unfavorable for the FBI?”

“There is an assumption by the FBI that the spores could have only been prepared in the week before each mailing. This is a fatal error in logic,” Adamovicz wrote, according to the paper. “The only reason that I can derive why the FBI has proposed this is that it is the only period that helps provide circumstantial evidence against Bruce.”

To read more click here

NY Fed Grand Jury Sends Toyota Subpoenas

ToyotaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Over the years, Toyota’s catchy slogans have included: “Oh, what a feeling!”; “I love what you do for me, Toyota! and “Who could ask for anything more”.

Now of days, it may be something like: “Seriously, We’re Sorry!”

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the auto giant, which has given American auto companies a major heartburn, has gotten federal grand jury subpoenas from the security fraud unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York and from the Securities Exchange Commission in connection with the recall of its autos.

Ex-Phone Worker Hit With 3-Plus Years For Helping Tap Phones of the Rich and Famous for Rogue Hollywood Detective Pellicano

telephoneBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Anthony Pellicano case just keeps giving.

The latest: Joann Wiggan, 56, a  former SBC phone company worker,  was sentenced Monday  in Los Angeles to 3 years and 5 months in prison and fined $7,500 for helping  Pellicano, the rogue detective to the stars,  wiretap big name  actors like Sylvester Stallone, according to the Associated Press. She was convicted  of two counts of perjury and one count of making a false statement.

Authorities charged Wiggan was a facilities tech at the phone company and had access to the computer mainframes.

Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in prison and FBI agent Mark Rossini lost his job and was sentenced to one year probation in Washington for leaking a secret FBI document to his girlfriend, actress Linda Fiorentino. She in turn, provided the document to Pellicano’s defense attorney for trial.