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Obama U.S. Atty. Appointments Now Outnumber Bush Appointees

It’s taken a while to get to this point, and frankly, it wouldn’t hurt to speed up the process. Each U.S. Attorney office deserves to have the stability that often comes with a permanent appointment.

One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ
One of the new Obama U.S. Attorneys Paul Fishman of NJ

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — For the first time in this administration, Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by President Barack Obama outnumber Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorneys nominated by former President George W. Bush.

As of the end of November, more than 10 months into Obama’s presidency, the score was 24 Obama U.S. Attorneys to 21 Bush U.S. Attorneys, according to a review of Justice Department and congressional records. And of the 48 acting and interim U.S. Attorneys, just seven were appointed during the Bush administration.

The figures represent a watershed for the Obama administration, which has made halting progress filling the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys positions amid political resistance and a crowded legislative agenda.

For Full Story

Blago’s Attorney Could Call Pres. Obama as a Witness in June 3 Trial

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich in happier days

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The realty-TV feel of the ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich public corruption case could get all the more intense if the defense calls President Barack Obama as a witness.

One of Blagojevich’s attorneys, Samuel Adams, on Wednesday hinted of the possibility of calling the President as a witness during trial, saying it would be “an awesome experience in any career” to question the leader of the Free World, according to Associated Press.

But Adams said it was too soon to tell whether it will be necessary, the AP reported. The President-elect had been interviewed by the FBI after allegations surfaced that the colorful Blagojevich was trying to sell Obama’s vacated senate seat. Obama is not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Blagojevich, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, faces a 19-count indictment that  includes allegatations of trying to sell the senate seat and fundraising abuses.  Trial is set for June 3.

Drug Trafficker Had Surgically Altered All 10 Fingers to Obliterate Prints

fingerprint-smaller-versionBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From all outward appearances, William Wallace Keegan’s sentence in Phoenix last week was nothing out of the ordinary: a big time drug dealer getting hit with a life sentence after a long career in the drug trade.

But what made his case stand out was the evidence at trial in June which showed that the 62-year-old (aka Richard Alan King) of Harbor, Fla., had all 10 fingers surgically altered in the 1990s to obliterate his fingerprints above the first joint, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Despite his unusual effort, a DEA press release said an agency forensic print analyst was still able to “match the lower joint fingerprints” to confirm his true identity.

Evidence during trial also showed that Keegan, along with others,  obtained cocaine in Arizona and transported most of it via the U.S. Postal Service to New York between November 2005 and January 2008.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton sentenced him to five concurrent life sentences for drug trafficking and 240 months for money laundering.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Atty. Charges D.C. Cop with Murder

Key Witness in Cong. William Jefferson Case Gets Substantial Reduction in Sentence for Cooperating

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News
Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A key prosecution witness in the public corruption trial of ex-Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, could be seeing daylight soon.

As expected, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III of Alexandria, Va., in a written filing on Dec. 11 substantially cut the sentence of key witness Vernon Jackson from 87 to 40 months. The government had asked that the judge cut the sentence by 50 percent.

Jackson, 57, owner of a high-tech, Kentucky-based business called iGate, had pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson in exchange for the Congressman’s help promoting business in Africa.

As part of the guilty plea, Jackson agreed to cooperate and ended up delivering some key testimony during the summer trial that resulted in Jefferson being convicted on 11 of 16 counts of public corruption.

Read more »

Ex-Kennedy Staffer Indicted in Scheme to Get More Than $75,000 Extra in Pay and Bonuses

istock photo

istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– A former office manager for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy was indicted Tuesday in a scheme to get more than $75,000 extra in salary and bonuses, the Justice Department said.

Ngozi T. Pole, 39,of Waldorf, Md., was charged in a six-count indictment that alleged that as office manager for Kennedy between 2003 and 2007 he “repeatedly submitted paperwork causing the Senate to pay him larger salary and bonus payments than had been approved by either the chief of staff or Senator Kennedy,” a Justice Department press release said.

FBI Arrests NY Man for Pirating “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”

x_men_origins_wolverine_movie_poster4By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Film pirating is serious business in California.

The latest turn in the never-ending problem came Wednesday morning when FBI agents arrested a New York man for unlawfully distributing  a pirated copy of the movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” before it was officially released in theaters.

The FBI said it  arrested Gilberto Sanchez, 47, at his home in the Bronx without incident. A federal grand jury in Los Angeles had indicted him on Dec. 10.

Authorities allege that Sanchez had uploaded  the copyrighted “X-Men Origins: Wolverine to www.Megaupload.com last spring.

“The  film was uploaded prior to its theatrical release,” said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles. ” The investigation into the initial compromise of the film is continuing.  Additional arrests have not been ruled out.”

Uploading a copyrighted work to the Internet carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the
gross gain or gross loss attributable to the offense, whichever is greater, authorities said.

NY FBI to Form Squad to Help 9/11 Prosecutors

Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Khalid Sheik Mohammed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The feds are taking the upcoming 9/11 trial quite seriously.

Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in New York,  said the agency will be forming a squad to assist the prosecutors in preparing the case against alleged mastermind of the plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others.

The squad, he said,  will include “agents, analysts and other professional support with a wide variety of experience working on major trials and investigations. Many of the personnel have worked the 9/11 investigation since the beginning.”

“The squad will function as a task force with members from NYPD, PAPD, FDNY and several other agencies,” Kolko said in a prepared statement. “Their role will be to provide investigative support throughout the legal proceedings. We will provide additional information on this squad in the near future.”

Kolko said the squad will currently have more than a dozen people, but that could grow if necessary.