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News Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Gets Blasted From Both Sides

Mild-mannered Eric Holder is finding that’s it’s not only tough to please all of Washington,  it’s tough to please either side of the isle — Democrat-Republican, liberal-conservative. Lately, the left has been blasting him for trying to smooth over the past events involving the Bush administration. All in a days work in Washington.

Eric Holdler/msnbc

Eric Holdler/msnbc

By Carrie Johnson and Krissah Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — July cannot be counted as the warmest of months for Eric H. Holder Jr. The attorney general clashed with Congress over national security policy, fielded complaints from federal judges upset with bungled evidence and, in the most painful indignity, cracked his tooth.

Then came a bombshell three days ago that has sent Washington political circles reeling: Holder’s inclination to appoint a prosecutor to examine whether interrogators tortured terrorism suspects during the Bush years. The disclosure has exposed him to new scrutiny even among colleagues in the Obama administration, where views about unearthing divisive episodes from the past are hardly uniform.

All of that took a back seat yesterday when Holder, 58, arrived in his home town of New York for a rousing speech to the NAACP, where he had served as an intern decades ago. Seated between civil rights icon Julian Bond and the group’s president, Benjamin Todd Jealous, at a luncheon during the organization’s centennial convention, Holder was lauded by the crowd as a symbol of pride and progress in his ascent to becoming the nation’s first black attorney general.

For Full Story

Ex-NFL Player Reed Diehl Pleads Guilty in Calif. in Ponzi Scheme

tennessee-titans

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former NFL player Reed Kyle Diehl is in big trouble for clipping — yes clipping investors in a $5 million Ponzi scheme.

The 30-year-old former offensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans  pleaded guilty Monday in Santa Ana, Calif., to fraud charges in connection to a Ponzi in which he “collected funds with promises of high rates of returns on investment loans”, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Diehl posed as a banker who made short-term cash loans to businesses or individuals.

“Instead of using investor funds to make loans, he used investors’ money to repay earlier investors and to fund his lifestyle,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter will sentence him Sept. 28.

Authorities say Diehl was originally arrested in March 2008 and released on bond. In January, his bond was revoked after he got involved in a real estate transaction involving a $3.5 million home using a false name and social security number, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Boston Mobster Says His Girlfriend Was Murdered Because She Knew of the Mob’s Ties to FBI

The Rifleman/dateline nbc photo
The Rifleman testifying in Miami in murder trial of FBI agent John Connolly  /dateline nbc

The Soprano-like testimony in court continues to expose the shady side of the FBI in Boston during a very dark era. The testimony is part of a civil trial involving families suing the government for failing to stop mobsters/FBI informants from killing relatives. Dateline NBC had a great segment on the Boston mob and the FBI last Friday.  Click here to see a sampling of the show.

By Jonathan Saltzman
The Boston Globe
BOSTON — The gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi insisted yesterday that he helped arrange the murder of his girlfriend because she knew about the corrupt relationship he and his longtime partner, James “Whitey” Bulger, had with a rogue FBI agent, not because she had met another man.

Under cross-examination by a Justice Department lawyer in Flemmi’s third and final day on the witness stand in US District Court in Boston, the convicted mobster discounted a suggestion that he set up the Sept. 17, 1981, murder of Debra Davis, 26, because she had recently fallen in love with a businessman during a trip to Mexico.

“She could have left anytime she wanted,” he testified in response to a question from Lawrence Eiser, the Justice Department lawyer.

“Why did you kill her?” Eiser asked.

“I explained to you, Bulger killed her,” Flemmi said, in the bristling tone he has often exhibited on the stand. “He was concerned. She was aware of my relationship with [FBI agent John] Connolly.”

For Full Story

Prosecution Witness Tesitifies ex-Rep. Jefferson Told Him He Didn’t Think He was Doing Anything Illegal

Sure Jefferson is trying to say that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. But he’ll have to find some way to explain to the jurors why, when he spoke to an FBI informant who was wearing a wire, he used a code word for money (“African art”) and sounded as if he was doing something very illegal.

William J. Jefferson

William J. Jefferson

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A prosecution witness testified Monday that former Rep. William Jefferson told him in 2002 that as a Harvard-educated lawyer he believes his involvement with international business deals was legal as long as he didn’t legislate on those projects.

George Knost, president of Baton Rouge-based Arkel International, said Jefferson’s comments came in response to a question he asked the congressman about the international projects he heard that Jefferson was involved with, in addition to promoting a Nigerian sugar refinery sponsored by an Arkel subsidiary, Arkel Sugar.

Jefferson’s comments, which Judge T.S. Ellis III allowed to be described to the jury over prosecution objections, seem intended by his attorneys to show he had a clear vision on what activities were legitimate and which were not.

The issue is important. Jefferson’s attorneys argue that the allegations in the government’s 16-count corruption indictment focus on private business deals not covered by the federal bribery statute.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Cleveland U.S. Atty. Defends Rogue DEA Agent in Court

The real question here is: Is Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White being a stand up guy or simply covering up for the mistakes his office made?

Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White/doj photo

Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White/doj photo

By John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter
CLEVELAND, Ohio — In a rare move, former U.S. Attorney Greg White took the witness stand Monday, July 13, defending the credibility of indicted federal drug agent Lee Lucas.

White, now a U.S. magistrate, said federal prosecutors feared Lucas, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, worked too many cases too quickly and failed to document his work properly. But White stressed that his office never worried about Lucas’ truthfulness, as defense attorneys contend.

“The consensus was that he was trying to do too much, too fast,” White said.

A prosecutor in White’s office, Ronald Bakeman, agreed: “[Lucas] was running at 150 mph.”

The hearing offered a glimpse into how White ran the federal office and handled a controversial agent who snagged major drug dealers while fighting credibility issues.

In May, Lucas was charged in an 18-count indictment involving a 2005 drug probe in Mansfield. The indictment says Lucas oversaw informant Jerrell Bray as he made 15 undercover sales over two months. But 13 of the deals were bogus, leading to trumped-up charges against 17 people. Bray lied and misidentified drug dealers. Lucas, the indictment says, concealed information about Bray from prosecutors and lied at trials.

For Full Story

Big-Time N.Y. Lawyer Marc Dreier Gets 20 Years For Massive Fraud: Prosecution Asked for 145 Years

Well, Dreier’s attorney thought he should only get 10 to 12.5 years in prison. He got more. Then again, the prosecution wanted him to get a Madoff-like sentence of 145 years. Either way, here’s another guy who lived the good life and is now off to live a very bad life.

gavel22

By The Associated Press
A once-prominent Manhattan attorney was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for a hatching a massive fraud in a desperate attempt to keep his law firm afloat and bankroll a lavish lifestyle.

Marc Dreier, 59, had pleaded guilty to a $400 million scheme that, though dwarfed by Bernard Madoff’s multibillion dollar swindle, was so outlandish prosecutors labeled him “the Houdini of impersonation and false documents.”

“I’m sorry — deeply sorry — for the harm and sadness I’ve caused to so many people,” Dreier said before hearing the sentence. He was later led out of court in handcuffs.

For Full Story

FBI Says There’s No Reports of Terrorist Threats Involving All Star Game in St. Louis

Busch Stadium in St. Louis/fbi photo
Busch Stadium in St. Louis/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, which is helping provide security for the Major League All-Star Game in St. Louis Tuesday, said Monday night that there is no indication of any planned terrorist attacks at the event where President Obama is scheduled to toss out the ceremonial first pitch.

“We have no intelligence that indicates that anything will happen,” John V. Gillies, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the St. Louis office said in a phone interview with ticklethewire.com. “We expect everything to go off without any issues and everyone will have an enjoyable time.”

Gillies said the FBI has “dozens and dozens” of agents, including analysts and bomb techs, who have been working on the security, which is being headed up by the St. Louis Police Department. He said preparations began several months ago.

He said agents are helping perform background checks on people working and volunteering for the game and events leading up to it, and the FBI has brought from Washington a mobile command post or “field office on wheels” to help monitor the mass gathering.

“Analysts are sorting through a ream of intelligence reports and looking for any bit of intelligence to determine any connection to the the All-Star venues,” Gillies said.

“While the police department will have a visible presence, most of what the FBI will be doing will not be seen, but we’ll be out there,” he added.

He said the bureau is also working closely with the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting President Obama at the game. Some other agencies involved in the All-Star Game security include ATF,  the Transportation Security Administration and the Postal Inspection Service.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley, declined to comment on specifics,  but said Monday night that his agency has been doing the usual advance work and communicating with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in preparation for the president’s arrival.

Female FBI Agent in Guantanamo Says She Was Ostracized For Not Partaking in “Spring Break” Activities

It’s understandable in such an isolated environment people do things to keep their spirits up. But it sounds like this female FBI agent feels things went too far.

spring-break

By TIM HULL
Courthouse News Service
BOSTON – The first full-time female FBI agent to be stationed at Guantanamo says she was made to bunk with vermin that gave her a tropical disease and was ostracized because she refused to join in a “spring break” atmosphere in which agents were encouraged to drink, date, and frolic when not interrogating alleged terrorists.

She says FBI agents attended parties dressed in “mocking imitation of Arab or Afghan attire” and in orange detainee jumpsuits. And she says she has photos to prove it.

Theresa A. Foley, 43, requested a transfer to Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, and says that from the moment she arrived she found a “generally sexist, discriminatory and ‘boys club’ atmosphere” at the island prison.

For Full Story

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