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Justice Dept. Honing in On Crime Issues Involving Native Americans

The Justice Department is stepping up to address problems of a forgotten segment of  America.  This is something long overdue.

native-american-sign1

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Justice Department leaders, responding to pleas from lawmakers and community groups, are training their attention on efforts to reduce crime and substance abuse on land controlled by the nation’s roughly 560 Native American tribes.

Federal law enforcement officials investigate and prosecute the bulk of serious criminal activity in Indian territory. But workers responsible for policing crime on reservations, where domestic violence and drug-fueled offenses have been on the rise, are overwhelmed and “grossly underfunded,” according to a memo submitted by the National Congress of American Indians as part of the presidential transition effort.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, the department’s third in command, will appear at a conference hosted by the National Congress of American Indians in Niagara Falls, N.Y., today to address the issues and promise more grant money for youth mentoring, victim assistance and crime prevention.

For Full Story

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Some Legal Observers Say Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Trial No Sure Thing

Some legal observers are starting to raise questions about the Rep. William Jefferson case. Some say there’s no guarantee of victory for the prosecution. Jefferson has some top notch defense attorneys. Even so, with the former Congressman facing 16 counts, there’s a good chance, even if the jury is conflicted, it might strike up a compromise and convict on only a few counts, thinking its giving Jefferson a break, not realizing it will only take one felony conviction to send him off to prison. Whatever the case, we’ll soon know the answer. Opening statements begin Tuesday.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — When Peter Zeidenberg, a Washington lawyer and former prosecutor, read about the 2007 indictment of then-Congressman William Jefferson, he figured the Justice Department had a pretty strong case.

Now, he and some other prominent legal experts believe that the Jefferson corruption trial, although unlikely to end in acquittal, could produce a hung jury. A guilty verdict requires all 12 jurors to agree.

After three days of jury selection last week, the trial begins in earnest Tuesday with opening statements from the prosecution and defense.

When the government filed its 16-count corruption indictment in June 2007, alleging that the New Orleans Democrat had demanded and, in some cases, received bribes in return for his help promoting projects in Western Africa, Jefferson’s prospects looked grim.

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Weekend History Series: J. Edgar Hoover Testifies About Communism

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6kD0uFOLng

U.S. and Italian Authorities Bust Hackers Who Stole To Fund Terrorism

Hacking isn’t just for kids or just for kicks.  It can be dangerous and for  deadly purposes.hacker-art

By SIOBHAN GORMAN and EVAN PEREZ
The Wall Street Journal

U.S. and Italian authorities said Friday they arrested a group of hackers and conspirators who allegedly stole from phone companies around the world. The illegal profits funded terrorist activities, Italian officials alleged.

A federal grand jury in New Jersey indicted three people Friday, including one man who has been linked to al Qaeda. The three suspects, who live in the Philippines, are accused of providing Pakistani nationals in Italy with access to stolen phone lines.

The same company that was used to pay the three hackers also financed the communications of terrorists in last year’s Mumbai attacks, in which a small group killed more than 170 people, people familiar with the matter alleged.

For Full Story

Fed Judge Sentences Ex-Chicago Cop to 3 Years-Plus For Beating Man in Wheelchair

chicago-police-badgeThere’s just no defending a beating when it involves a man in a wheelchair– particularly when it’s caught on video. U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said he took no pleasure in the prosecution, but said the crime had to be addressed.

By NATASHA KORECKI AND TESS FARDON
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — After his client was hit with a 3½-year sentence Thursday for the videotaped beating of a man in a wheelchair, a defense lawyer launched an explosive salvo against Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis.

“I’ve got a message for all those fine officers in blue out there: After 15 years on the job, don’t snap. You’ll get thrown under the bus and it’ll be a federal bus and it’ll be by your own superintendent,” said a fuming Terry Gillespie, who represents former cop William Cozzi.

“This prosecution brought by Supt. Weis was misguided and vindictive,” Gillespie said.

The remarks came moments after Cozzi, 52, was sentenced for the 2005 beating of a 60-year-old man who was handcuffed and shackled to a wheelchair.

For Full Story

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2yT32nOxWA

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Tulsa U.S. Atty. David O’Meilia Stepping Down

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tulsa U.S. Attorney David E. O’Meilia is stepping down June 28, adding to the  growing number of  Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys who have resigned in recent months,  the Associated Press reported.

The 57-year-old first served as acting U.S. Attorney in October 2001 and was confirmed in January 2002.tulsa He will return to private practice in Tulsa, the wire service reporter.

O’Meilia has been practicing law in Oklahoma for more than 30 years. He started out in October 1976 as an assistant public defender in Tulsa County, according to his biography posted on the U.S. Attorney website.

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