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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Former Dep. Marshal on Trial in Chicago For Allegedly Leaking Secrets to the Mob

chicagoLike father like son? Former deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose is accused of crimes in a Chicago trial. His father, a Chicago cop in the 1980s, was convicted of corruption. There’s something to be said about family tradition.

Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO  — A former deputy U.S. marshal accused of leaking secrets to the Chicago mob about a protected witness committed “a criminal betrayal of trust,” prosecutors said Monday.

John T. Ambrose, 42, took information from a secret file that “he knew was going back to an organized crime figure” and also lied about it when federal officials confronted him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk during opening statements.

Ambrose was charged in January 2007 with theft of Justice Department property, disclosing confidential information and lying to federal agents who questioned him about the leak. If convicted, he faces years in prison.

He has denied the allegations.

For Full Story

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller Names Women to Head San Francisco and Honolulu Offices

fbiBy Allan Lengel
WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has picked seasoned women agents to head FBI offices in San Francisco and Honolulu.

The women are replacing women agents.

Stephanie Douglas will head the San Francisco office and Charlene B. Thornton will take charge of the Honolulu office, the FBI said.

Douglas started with the FBI in 1989 and went on to the Washington field office where she investigated violent crimes, public corruption and “some of the FBI’s most sensitive counterintelligence and espionage investigations”, the FBI said. In 2000, she was promoted to a supervisory post and was detailed to the CIA, the FBI said.

After taking various posts, she was named deputy assistant director for Operations Support in the Counterintelligence Division, the FBI said. She replaces Charlene Thornton, who goes off to Honolulu.

Thornton joined the FBI in 1979, and started working criminal counterintelligence and counterrorism in the Indianapolis and Los Angeles divisions, the FBI said.

In 1995, she became assisant special agent in charge of the Honolulu office. She later went on to become special agent in charge of the Birmingham, Ala. and Phoenix divisions and in 2006 headed the San Francisco office.
She replaces Janet Kammerman, who is now associate executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch at FBI headquarters.

Homeland Chief Janet Napolitano Tours Southern Calif. Bustling Ports and Biggest Airport

Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano

The western U.S. has more than its fair share of needs when it comes to security. Newly minted Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will have her hands full prioritizing and distributing money in the western states to make the country safer. 

By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angles Times
The nation’s top domestic security official toured Southern California’s bustling ports and biggest airport Monday as local officials plied her with requests for financial help to upgrade potentially vulnerable facilities.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took a flyover of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and surveyed recent security improvements at Los Angeles International Airport, including better fencing, systems to screen passenger vehicles and concrete barriers to prevent vehicles from crashing into airline terminals.
“It would be hard to identify a more critical area of the country in terms of the impact on infrastructure and on commerce than this area of Southern California,” Napolitano said in a news conference at the U.S. Coast Guard station on Terminal Island.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who accompanied Napolitano on the tour, said she and other local officials outlined other critical security upgrades in need of federal financial aid, including $60 million to complete the airport’s border fence. Harman said officials urged Napolitano to waive federal rules requiring local governments to kick in 25% of project financing.


For Full Story

Texas U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton Departing April 19

U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton

U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton

Allan Lengel

U.S. Atty. Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas,who found himself embroiled in controversy when he prosecuted two border patrol agents, has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to discuss his 7 1/2 year tenure. His last day is April 19.

Sutton, who oversaw an office of 140 attorneys, assumed the post in November 2001. During his tenure his office prosecuted a number of high profile cases and won convictions of a former Texas Attorney General and two San Antonio City Council members.

A press release said his office  led the nation each year in the number of drug prosecutions and was second in the nation in the number of illegal alien cases prosecuted.

Conservatives were angry at Sutton for convicting two Border Patrol agents, who covered up the shooting of an unarmed drug smuggler near El Paso. The agents,  Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, were convicted of shooting the dealer and later lying about it. They got 10 year sentences.

President Bush, responding to cries for their freedom, commuted their sentences in January.

Afterwards, in a carefully worded statement, Sutton  praised Pres. Bush for cutting the sentences, but upholding the conviction.

“Today, the President exercised his power under the Constitution to grant executive clemency to former Border Patrol Agents Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos,” Sutton said in the statement. “Like the trial judge and the court that reviewed the cases on appeal, President Bush found that Compean and Ramos were justly convicted of serious crimes and that their status as convicted felons should remain in place.”

Boston Globe Columnist Blasts Justice Dept. For Blowing Off Victim’s Family in Murder Involving Mobster Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The ugly chapter involving the questionable relationship between mobster Whitey Bulger and the FBI continues to rear its head in Boston. It seems the Justice Dept. has to owe up to the facts of the case and move on. Boston Globe Columnist Kevin Cullen feels the Justice Department isn’t doing that. He says the department is essentially telling a victim’s family to “drop dead”. Here’s the story.
By Kevin Cullen
Boston Globe Columnist
— You may recall reading in this space not long ago about the family of Michael Donahue, a truck driver from Dorchester who was murdered on the South Boston waterfront 27 years ago by the gangster Whitey Bulger with a very generous assist from the FBI.

The day after the column appeared, lawyers for the US Justice Department informed lawyers for the Donahue family that the government was going to ignore a judge’s recommendation to settle a lawsuit for getting Michael Donahue killed.

In essence, the government told the Donahues to drop dead. It wants to retry the damages part and force the family to go through the whole rigmarole again, on the pretext that the recent death of Judge Reggie Lindsay somehow changes the fact that Lindsay found the FBI liable for causing the murder of Michael Donahue while protecting its prized snitch Whitey Bulger.

 For Full Story

U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald Makes Esquire’s “The List of Men”

img_01381By Allan Lengel

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who has fashioned himself as a modern day Eliott Ness, finds himself this month in the company of such mega-names as Russell Crowe, the Dalai Lama, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springstein, Bill Clinton and Chris Rock.

Fitzgerald is included in Esquire’s  May issue (it’s on the stands already) in a section “The List of Men”.

Under a rather prominent photo of him, the magazine writes: “When Fitzgerald serves you, consider yourself served. He brought down Scooter Libby, Conrad Black, and then Blago. Wither thou goest, Alberto Gonzales, we all hope Fitz goes with thee.”

Another person who made the list is James Comey, who was deputy Atty. General under Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.

Of Comey, the magazine wrote:
“This guy dove in front of the pen when Bush’s goons tried to get a hospitalized Ashcroft to reinvent the Constitution while lodged in the haze of a Versed hangover. Bush did it anyway, relegating Comey to being the best damn lawyer in Palookaville. For doing his job. Trying to tell the truth. Google him.”

Former Fed Prosecutor Doesn’t Think There’s a Systemic Integrity Problem at Dept. of Justice

Stephanie GallagherBy Stephanie Gallagher
Fraud With Peril Blog

The Department of Justice has had several high-profile incidents in the past few weeks calling into question the integrity of its prosecutors – specifically the aftermath of the Ted Stevens trial, during which prosecutors failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, and the Shaygan trial in Miami, during which prosecutors and agents secretly taped the defense attorney’s conversations with his client. These incidents have caused some to question whether there is a systemic problem within DOJ causing prosecutors to ignore some of the most basic principles guiding the fair pursuit of justice.

I think the answer is no.

In my experience on both sides of the playing field, I have seen several examples of attorneys, for whom I have immense respect, who have come quite close to or crossed lines on occasion, either in the zealous representation of a client or in prosecuting a defendant who appears unquestionably guilty of serious crimes.

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It’s Bear Bile and That Ain’t No Bull

istock_000002480272xsmallBy Allan Lengel

By most estimations, most folks wouldn’t risk going to jail for this.

But Seongja Hyun, a Korean national living in Los Angeles, isn’t like most folks. She  faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on federal charges of  importing nearly a kilogram of bear bile harvested in China, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Hyun, a who was arrested late last month,  was charged with the illegal importation of wildlife in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the investigation began last month when Customs and Border Protection agents seized a package at the U.S. Postal Service San Francisco International Mail Facility.

The package, which came from China, contained  ” four bags of a dark green crystalline substance believed to be bear bile, along with empty vials and labels for the bear bile”, authorities charged.

After Hyun received the package, federal agents interviewed the South Korean woman, who admitted selling the bile to other people, authorities said.  Investigators also found additional bear bile, vials and packaging.

“Bear bile is typically extracted from living bears kept in cages in China and other countries by inserting a tube into the bear’s gallbladder,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release. ” Bear bile is considered by some to be a medicinal product and is typically consumed to treat various ailments or to act as an aphrodisiac.”

Bears are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a treaty that has been signed by more than 150 countries, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.