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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Could N.Y. Trial of Pakistani Scientist be Preview of the Pending Trial of 9/11 Suspects?

new york city3 cabsBy Allan Lengel

The Manhattan federal trial of a Pakistani scientist accused of trying to shoot U.S. soldiers while being detained in Afghanistan continues to be a reminder of what troubles could lie ahead when suspected 9/11  mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others stand trial in the Big Apple.

The New York Times reported that scientist Aafia Siddiqui was twice ejected from court Monday for loudly proclaiming her innocence.

On top of that, “a spectator who pointed his thumb and index finger like a gun at the jury while mouthing an expletive was taken into custody and later released,” the Times reported.

The paper reported the judge later dismissed two jurors who said they felt threatened.

”They were visibly upset,” a court official said, according to the Times.

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Blago’s Name-Dropping Attorney Invokes the Names of Tony Soprano, Pres. Obama and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

tony-sopranoBy Allan Lengel

It’s not everyday, within the confines of a five-page court filing, that a defense attorney gets to cram in the names Tony Soprano, President Obama and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

But Sam Adams, who represents the fiesty ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich,  did just that the other day in a response to a government filing.

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

As part of the pretrial discovery process,  Adams is asking that the government turn over interviews by the FBI  of “White House family and staff, not the least of whom is the President of the United States, Barack Obama.”

“What justification can the government offer for the government’s refusal to provide material?” he asks, and goes on to cite the government’s reluctance to provide a witness list out of concern for the security and possible harassment of witnesses.

“The government’s alleged concern about the harassment and security of witnesses… cannot be taken seriously,” he wrote. “This defendant is Rod Blagojevich, not Tony Soprano. This is the trial of the former governor for alleged non-violent offenses, not a replay of the “FAMILY SECRETS” trial.

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

“A government confident enough in its own rectitude to try purported terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed  in a United States District court in New York should likewise be secure enough to provide the accused former Illinois with the requested statements of the President of the United States. What next, a government motion to limit the tapes to only those the government wants played at trial?”

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Nebraska Man Pleads Guilty to Attacking Scientology Websites

No invite from Cruise/paramount pictures photo
No invite from Cruise/paramount pictures photo

By Allan Lengel

Don’t expect to see Brian Thomas Mettenbrink at the next red carpet event for Scientologists Tom Cruise or John Travolta.

Menttenbrink, 20, of Grand Island, Nebraska, pleaded guilty Monday in Los Angeles  federal court  to participating in a ploy to shut down the Church of Scientology websites in January 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Under his plea agreement, he will serve a one year prison sentence.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Mettenbrink participated in the attack on the Scientology websites that was orchestrated by a group that labeled itself ‘Anonymous.’”

Authorities said the group led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Mettenbrink admitted downloading computer software from an “Anonymous” message board to bombard Scientology websites with  an inordinate amount of traffic to shut them down, authorities said.

Dmitriy Guzner, of Verona, N.J. was sentenced last year to one year and one day in federal prison for her role in the attacks.

Detroit Area Man Who is Popular Muslim Singer Charged with Lying About Links to Hamas

detroit1By Allan Lengel

A suburban Detroit man charged with lying about his ties to a Hamas-linked charity, the Holly Land Foundation, is a well-known singer in the Muslim world, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The paper reported that Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, 47, of Farmington Hills, Mich., who is also known as Abu Ratib, sings frequently to Muslim and Arab audiences in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, his attorney Doraid Elder told the Free Press on Monday.

The Syrian born man was arrested last week while trying to enter the U.S. from Canada via the  Ambassador Bridge,  authorities said.

He is charged with attempted naturalization fraud, making false statements to FBI investigators and immigration officials, and perjury, a press release said.

Authorities alleged that he misled them when they were probing the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based Muslim charity that was convicted in 2008 of helping to fund Hamas.

The Free press reported that he sang at Holy Land events and was paid by check for his help. Authorities say he ran the group’s Detroit area operation in the late 1990s.

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Detroit Public Corruption Case: Ex-Aide Calls Cong. Conyer’s Wife “Crazy” And Possibly “Beyond Medication”

Sam Riddle/facebook

Sam Riddle/facebook

By Allan Lengel

In Detroit–  an economically ailing city where routine services are stretched thin, and jobs, like a Detroit Lions victory, are tough to come by —  citizens are witnessing another sad chapter in federal court involving public corruption.

This times it’s the very talkative and controversial political consultant Sam Riddle,  whose trial began Monday. He is alleged to have had a corrupt partnership with his former boss, convicted ex-Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, the wife of Congressman John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary.

But with the sad corruption charges has come some entertainment.

In court, prosecutors played wiretapped conversations in which Riddle describes Monica Conyers as “crazy” and possibly “beyond medication”, according to the Detroit News.

“We’re not dealing with a normal person situation here,” Riddle told a business person.

Conyers has pleaded guilty to five  bribery charges and awaits sentencing March 10. Riddle is charged with extortion-related crimes stemming from his time as a top aide to Monica Conyers.

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Other Shoe Drops: 2nd NBA Player Jarvaris Crittenton Pleads Guilty of Gun Charge

Javaris Crittention

Javaris Crittention

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The other shoe dropped Monday in the gun drama involving suspended Washington Wizards’ star Gilbert Arenas.

The other figure in the scandal, Wizards player Jarvaris Crittenton, 21, who has been injured all year, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of an unregistered Firearm and was sentenced to one year probation, D.C. U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips announced.

D.C. Senior Superior Judge Bruce Beaudin  also ordered Crittenton to perform community service through the NBA’S Haiti project, and perform community service with a children’s organization in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say Crittenton had brought a firearm to the Verizon Center in the Chinatown district of downtown in December 2009 following an argument with Arenas on a plane two days earlier.

According to a U.S. Attorney press release:

“The factual proffer presented at the plea hearing, on December 19, 2009, into the early morning hours of December 20, 2009, Crittenton and Arenas became involved in a verbal exchange following a card game.

“In a heated exchange, Arenas stated he was too old to fistfight and threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face. Crittenton responded that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically-repaired knee. On the shuttle bus from the airplane to the terminal, Arenas further stated that he was going to burn or blow up Crittenton’s car when they came to practice the following Monday. According to Crittenton, he believed that Arenas intended to harm him.”

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Fed Judges Want Congress and White House to Clarify Dententions of Suspected Terrorists

The ongoing debate over how much rights suspected terrorist get needs some clarification. There’s no simple answer, but we also can’t ignore our Constitution and what America stands for when it comes to a fair and just legal system.

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By Chisun Lee

Three judges on the federal trial court hearing challenges brought by Guantanamo prisoners are calling on Congress and the Obama administration to enact a law to address one of the nation’s most perplexing moral and legal dilemmas: When can the United States indefinitely detain terrorism suspects?

In lengthy interviews, Chief Judge Royce Lamberth and two of his colleagues on the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said that deciding whether to release these prisoners raises unprecedented questions about security and liberty that need to be addressed by lawmakers. Their willingness to discuss their concerns in detail — something federal judges rarely do in cases pending before them — underscores the seriousness with which they view the lack of guidance from lawmakers.

“Judges aren’t in the business of making law — we interpret law,” said Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee. “It should be Congress that decides a policy such as this that has a monumental impact on our society and makes a monumental impression on the world community.”

Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, said the judges are struggling “to adapt legal principles to a whole new sphere of human existence that we’ve never witnessed in history as far as I know.” The problem, he and the other judges say, is that the battle against terrorist groups doesn’t fit the classic definition of war, with clearly defined enemies who would be released when the conflict was settled. Because U.S. law doesn’t currently have any other option for captives held in a conflict without end, terrorism detainees could be locked up for life, the judges say.

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Message Supposedly From Osama bin Laden Takes Credit for Failed Detroit Plane Bombing