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News Story

No Warm Welcome For Indicted Chicago Aldr. Carothers Who Wore FBI Wire

No Aldermans publicly using R word (Rat) yet like in the 1990s

No Aldermen publicly using R word (Rat) yet like in the 1990s

Wearing a wire around your colleagues is not a great way to ingratiate yourself. It is, however,  a good way to get a cut on your time when you cooperate with the FBI. It looks like indicted Chicago Alderman Isaac Carothers will be eating lunch alone.

By Dan Mihalopoulos and Dan P. Blake
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — If there is one thing that bothers Chicago’s aldermen more than FBI agents and investigative reporters, it’s a colleague who cooperates with the feds against fellow City Council members.

On Monday, nobody openly used the three-letter R-word — rat — like they did when an alderman wore a wire in the 1990s. But more than a few aldermen admitted they were not thrilled to see newly indicted Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) back at work.

When Carothers was charged with bribery along with a real estate developer last week, federal court records indicated he wore a wire to secretly record discussions with other city officials and developers.

Carothers came to City Hall on Monday for his first official appearance since his indictment. Although often eager to bluntly give his opinion, Carothers did not say a word into the microphone on his desk during two committee meetings. He also declined to discuss the allegations with reporters.

For Full Story

House to Consider Banning Contoversial Whole-Body Imaging Machines at Airports

Airport crowd

Had a few extra donuts on that vacation?  Hoping no one will notice if you wear that baggy shirt? Well, the new body scanners being used on an experimental basis at some U.S. airports apparently can see right through the clothing. Good for security. Not so good for privacy. And so much for hiding. Some legislators think the scanners are too much and are trying to ban them.  Until a decision comes, hold off on the extra donut.

By Chris Strohm
CongressDaily
WASHINGTON — House lawmakers expect to take up legislation Wednesday that would prohibit government security officials from using controversial whole-body imaging machines to screen airplane passengers at primary airport checkpoints.

The machines are being tested at 19 airports by the Transportation Security Administration, with six airports allowing passengers to voluntarily go through them at primary security checkpoints and the rest using scanners at secondary checkpoints.

The machines use millimeter-wave technology that shows a three-dimensional image of a passenger without clothes. The images allow security officials to determine whether somebody is hiding threatening objects under their clothes.

For Full Story

Fed Prosecutors in Barry Bonds Perjury Case Say Judge Abused Her Discretion

Thanks to a judge’s ruling in the case, Barry Bonds is likely to avoid playing baseball in some prison yard. Bad for the inmates who could have picked up some pointers on hitting the long ball. Good for Bonds. But the U.S. Attorney’s office still would like to see Bonds behind bars and is fighting to make that happen. Here’s the latest.

barry-bonds

By Lance Williams
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge abused her discretion when she made alleged positive steroid tests and other key evidence off-limits in Barry Bonds’ perjury trial, prosecutors said Monday.

Bonds’ prosecutors asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the evidence, which Judge Susan Illston banned from the case Feb. 19, on the grounds that there was no proof the tests had anything to do with the former Giants star.

Bonds, 44, holder of baseball’s career home run record, had been scheduled to go to trial in March, accused of lying under oath about his use of steroids to the grand jury that investigated the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroids scandal. The judge’s ruling gutted the government’s case, and prosecutors took the unusual step of delaying the trial indefinitely while pursing an appeal.

For Full Story

Read Government’s Appeal

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Looking into at Least 3 Cases Involving New Orleans Police Officers

new-orleans-police-badge

One of the great checks and balances of local power involves the FBI’s ability to investigate local police departments. Down in Cajun country, the FBI has its hands full.

By Laura Maggi
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — The FBI is looking into at least three cases involving New Orleans police officers, a fact pointed out last week in a Fraternal Order of Police e-mail reminding officers of their right to consult attorneys before they are interviewed by agents.

Two of the cases stem from the days following Hurricane Katrina, including a recently begun FBI probe into possible police involvement in the case of a charred body found inside a burned car on an Algiers levee.

The FBI is looking into whether police committed a civil rights violation against the 31-year-old man whose remains were pulled out of the car in the weeks after the storm.

For Full Story

Ex-Gov Eliot Spitzer Met Regularly With Hookers For 18 Months Before He Resigned

From Emperors Club
Emperors Club

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Eliot Spitzer — or “Client 9″ as he’s known in some ledger books — is back in the news again.

A lawyer for an ex-worker at the infamous Emperors Club V.I.P. said outside a federal courtroom Monday that his client revealed that Spitzer met regularly with hookers for 18 months before his political demise, the Associated Press reported

Attorney Marc Agnifilo made the comments after his client Temeka Lewis was sentenced to a year of probation, the AP reported.

Lewis pleaded guilty in May 2008 to conspiracy charges. The FBI investigated Spitzer and even surveilled him in Washington, but never charged him.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said  Lewis ” arranged over the phone in January 2008 for a prostitute to meet a man at a hotel in New York, New York, and on another occasion, for a prostitute to travel from New York to Washington, D.C. to meet a man in his hotel room.”

Read Press Release

FBI Crime Figures Show Cities Got Safer and Small Towns Grew More Dangerous

Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report_jan-dec2This is an interesting trend, which goes to show crime is everyone’s problem.

The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Cities in the United States got safer in 2008, while small towns grew more dangerous, according to FBI data released Monday.

The FBI says violent crime nationwide dropped by 2.5 percent last year. Property crimes also fell, by 1.6 percent, according to the preliminary data collected by the FBI.

Cities with more than 1 million people saw murders fall by 4.3 percent; cities with 500,000 to 1 million people saw murders fall by nearly 8 percent.

Yet in towns with fewer than 10,000 residents, murders rose 5.5 percent, rape increased 1.4 percent, and robbery 3.9 percent.

The latest data shows violent crime fell for a second straight year, after increases in 2006 and 2005. Those two years, the crime rate began to rise after historic lows that began during the Clinton administration and continued into President Bush’s first years in the White House.

For Full Story

Trial to Begin for Georgia University Student Accused in Jihad Plot

This scenario seems to be a recurring one: Federal prosecutors say Syed Haris Ahmed is clearly a terrorist. The defense is saying he was just talking and had no intention of being a terrorist.  A jury in Atlanta will decide which is right.

atlanta-map1

By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA — Armed with a handheld video camera, a Georgia university student drove with a friend in April 2005 to Washington, D.C., and captured scenes of the Capitol, the Pentagon and other locations.

Investigators say Syed Haris Ahmed, now 24, wasn’t a tourist but a wannabe terrorist who wanted to send the videos of potential terror targets to an overseas contact. He was attending the Georgia Institute of Technology at the time.

The charges are central to a federal terrorism case against him that is set to begin Monday, and he could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Ahmed is also accused of going to Pakistan and trying to join a terrorism group a few months later, but prosecutors are not pursuing formal charges on that allegation.

His attorney, Jack Martin, contends the federal charges are little more than “imprudent talk” and that investigators have no evidence that Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan, has committed any terrorist act.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

How a Swaggering Ex-Federal Prosecutor Paul Bergrin, Son of a Cop, Allegedly Went Bad

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

This is a fascinating story that has all the markings of great movie. But federal authorities don’t see it as entertaining, nor amusing.

By Joe Ryan
Newark Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Last August, authorities say, Paul Bergrin traveled from Newark to Chicago hoping to meet a hit man.

Bergrin, who investigators describe as a go-to lawyer for Newark street gangs, was working on the case of an alleged Monmouth County cocaine kingpin. Authorities say the attorney wanted someone in Chicago to silence a potential witness.

That would-be triggerman, however, wound up working on a different case. He was an informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. And his case was against Bergrin.

After years of investigating, the DEA and the FBI arrested the 53-year-old lawyer May 20 on charges of running a wide-ranging criminal operation that included racketeering, mortgage fraud and employing nefarious and sometimes murderous tactics to shield his clients from prosecution.

For Full Story

Read Paul Bergrin Indictment