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Politics as Usual Impeding Philly U.S. Attorney Appointment

Politics as usual isn’t really good enough. It’s been almost a year since Pres. Obama took office and there’s still no clear picture as to who will be the new U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia. That should be unacceptable.

Acting U.S. Atty. Michael Levy/gov photo

Acting U.S. Atty. Michael Levy/gov photo

By MICHAEL HINKELMAN
Philadelphia Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — By this date eight years ago, the then-new U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, Patrick Meehan, had been on the job almost four months, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2001.

Now, almost a year into President Obama’s term, there is not even a nominee for the post. And the appointment of a new U.S. attorney, which is considered a plum assignment, is not believed to be imminent, sources familiar with the process say.

Some blame the ambling pace on unusual political circumstances.

Traditionally, the state’s senior senator of the president’s party, in this case Sen. Bob Casey, makes a recommendation to the White House. However, when longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties last April and became a Democrat, that complicated the selection process, sources said.

For Full Story

New Weapon in Bank Robberies: GPS Device

bank-robberyBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently GPS isn’t just for the geographically challenged anymore.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that police were able to track down three bank robbers in suburban Chicago last week, thanks to a credit-card sized GPS device that had been stuffed in with the stolen cash.

The paper, referring to an FBI affidavit, said the GPS led police almost instantly to the robbers in Dolton, Ill.

The Trib reported that the FBI and banking officials said “they believed it was the first time the technology — similar to what is increasingly used in cell phones and other devices — had been deployed to solve a bank robbery in the Chicago region. The FBI did use a GPS device last year to help free a man being held for $40,000 ransom, placing it in a bag of money tracked to a South Side home.”

Debbie Jemison, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Bankers Association, told the paper that banks started using the device about two years ago, but is unclear how widespread it’s use is.

89-Year Old Holocaust Museum Shooter Dies in N.C.

James von Brunn/facebook photo

James von Brunn/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Bureau of Prison’s website simply listed James W. von Brunn — the white supremacist charged with killing a U.S. Holocaust Museum guard in Washington last June — as “deceased”.

That simple declaration marked a rather  abrupt end to an ugly chapter that reminded people of the hate that lurks in America.

The Washington Post’s Del Quentin Wilber reported that von Brunn, 89, died on Wednesday shortly before 1 p.m. at a hospital near the Butner, N.C. prison where he was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. One media report said he  died of   natural causes.

Von Brunn stormed the museum on 14th Street and opened fire, killing an African American security guard Stephen T. Johns, 39. Von Brunn was shot in the head and wounded during the confrontation in which he reportedly wanted to send a message that the Holocaust was a hoax.

Suburban Boston Ex-Cop Admits to Lying to FBI Agents and Agrees to Cooperate in Police Corruption Probe

stoughton policeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Boston FBI will be getting a little help in a suburban police corruption probe, thanks to a former cop from that department  who has agreed to cooperate.

Ex-Detective Arlindo Romeiro of the Stoughton Police Department pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston to lying to FBI agents about a police corruption probe and agreed to cooperate in the investigation that appears to be widening, the Boston Globe reported. Stoughton is about 30 minutes outside of Boston.

The Globe reported that Romeiro lied to FBI agents in July and denied knowing that cops in his department had received “stolen gift cards and merchandise from an informant secretly cooperating with the FBI, when, in fact, he was among the recipients, a federal prosecutor said.”

The Globe reported the 37-year-old former detective “left the courtroom holding his eyeglasses and brushing away tears.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Stern Gets Very Stern: Suspends NBA Star Gilbert Arenas Indefinitely as U.S. Atty. Continues Probe

David Stern being very stern/nba photo
David Stern being very stern/nba photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — NBA star Gilbert Arenas of the  Washington Wizards, the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the D.C. police, was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday by the league’s Commissioner David Stern.

“Although it is clear that the actions of Mr. Arenas will ultimately result in a substantial suspension, and perhaps worse, his ongoing conduct has led me to conclude that he is not currently fit to take the court in an NBA game,” Stern said in a statement. “Accordingly, I am suspending Mr. Arenas indefinitely, without pay, effective immediately pending the completion of the investigation by the NBA.”

The ongoing criminal investigation has centered around Arenas storing four of his guns at the Verizon Center in the Chinatown section of Northwest Washington. He has said he wanted to get them out of his house and away from his children.

“The possession of firearms by an NBA player in an NBA arena is a matter of the utmost concern to us,” Stern said. “I initially thought it prudent to refrain from taking immediate action because of the pendency of a criminal investigation involving the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department, and the consideration of this matter by a grand jury sitting in the District of Columbia. For the same reason, I directed the Wizards to refrain from taking any action.

“Wizards personnel continue to be interviewed by law enforcement authorities, some are scheduled for appearance before the grand jury and the investigation is proceeding with the intensity that one would expect for such a serious incident,” he said.

Missouri State Lawmaker Chucks Career for $2,100 Bribe

Talibdin El-Amin/state photo

Talibdin El-Amin/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

St. Louis’ top FBI agent Roland J. Corvington put it most succinctly after Wednesday’s federal sentencing of Missouri state lawmaker Talibdin El-Amin.

“Mr. El-Amin threw away his political career for $2100.”

The state House representative from the 57th Missouri District was sentenced in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to 18 months in prison for taking $2,100 in bribes.

According to court documents, and statements made in court, authorities said El-Amin, 38, solicited a cash bribe from a local businessman in exchange for promises to intervene with St. Louis city officials about the businessman’s gas station.

“We hope this serves as a clear message that public servants are elected to serve the people, not themselves,” the FBI’s Corvington said in a prepared statement. .”

Suspected Underwear Bomber Indicted in Detroit on 6 Counts

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marhsals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The suspected Nigerian bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was indicted Wednesday in Detroit on six counts relating to his alleged attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

“The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool—military or judicial—available to our government.”

The Justice Department, in a press release, laid out the criminal counts in the indictment as follows:

*Count one of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison.

*Count two of the indictment charges him with attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

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