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The Circus Must Go On! Sen. Roland Burris Defends Himself as Things Heat Up

New Orleans U.S. Atty. Says 2 FBI Agents Should Be Immuned From Brutality Lawsuit

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans insists two FBI agents should have immunity under the law from a lawsuit involving a videotaped beating of a retired school teacher.
The teacher, Robert Davis, has filed a civil rights suit against New Orleans police officers and the the two agents Stephen Noh and Trent Miley.
In a motion filed Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office stated that because they were federal agents on the job, “Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, defendants Miley and Noh are improper defendants.”
“Therefore, a federal officer acting under the color of the law, such as defendants Noh and Miley are not subject to suit,” the motion said.
Davis’ lawsuit alleges that on Oct. 8, 2005 he was walking through the French Quarter and asked an officer about a curfew. After that, police officers and the FBI agents forced him to the ground and punched him repeatedly.

Read U.S. Attorney’s Motion

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Hoover’s FBI Investigated Jack Valenti’s Sexuality

Jack Valenti/cnn

Jack Valenti/cnn

Thirty seven years after his death, we’re still getting a glimpse into the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover and just how petty the agency was and how it investigated things that had nothing to do with public safety or national security.

By Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — When Beltway insider Jack Valenti died two years ago at age 85, he was playing the role of intermediary between Washington and Hollywood as the theatrical, snowy-haired president of the Motion Picture Association of America.

But back in 1964, Valenti was a Houston ad executive newly installed at the White House as a top aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI found itself quietly consumed with the vexing question of whether Valenti was gay.

Previously confidential FBI files show that Hoover’s deputies set out to determine whether Valenti, who had married two years earlier, maintained a relationship with a male commercial photographer. Republican Party operatives reportedly were pursuing a parallel investigation with the help of a retired FBI agent, bureau files show. No proof was ever found, but the files, obtained by The Washington Post under the federal Freedom of Information Act, provide further insight into the conduct of the FBI under Hoover, for whom damaging personal information on the powerful was a useful tool in his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon.
For Full Story

At Least 9 Bush Officials Refused to Cooperate in Justice Probes

By Murray Waas
TalkingPointsMemo
Bush confidant Harriet Miers has refused to cooperate

Bush confidant Harriet Miers has refused to cooperate

WASHINGTON — At least nine Bush administration officials refused to cooperate with various Justice Department investigations during the final days of the Bush presidency, according to public records and interviews with federal law enforcement officials and many of the officials and their attorneys. In addition, two U.S. senators, a congresswoman, and the chief of staff to one of them, also refused to cooperate with the same investigations.
In large part because of that noncooperation, Justice Department officials sought criminal prosecutors in at least two cases so far to take over their investigations so that they can compel the testimony of many of those officials to testify through the use of a federal grand jury.
With the stakes now escalating for both sides — the possibility of grand jury subpoenas for recalcitrant witnesses and the specter of senior government officials invoking their Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination — it remains unclear whether and how many of them will continue to defy investigators.
For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Says America is a Nation of Cowards When It Comes to Race

Eric Holder Jr./doj photo

Eric Holder Jr./doj photo

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr., a well respected figure in Washington, delivered some sobering and pointed remarks about race in America. Even with the first African American president and attorney general, he said the race issue is far from perfect.

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON — Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was “a nation of cowards” on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues. In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder said.
Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but “we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.”
For Full Story

Read Text of Speech

At Least 10 People Vying For Philly U.S. Atty Job

A herd of candidates are trying to grab the U.S. Attorney post in Philly, but if history is any indication, there won’t be any decision made any time soon.

By KITTY CAPARELLA
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — WANTED: U.S. Attorney with trial experience, possibly a career prosecutor, outstanding academic credentials and a fervor to tackle the pay-to-play culture, street violence and terrorism.
Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder named Laurie Magid as interim U.S. Attorney, but she is expected to hold that position only briefly. She had been the acting federal prosecutor since Patrick Meehan left the job last fall.
Meantime, at least 10 lawyers are known to be interested in the job as top federal prosecutor, who oversees 250 attorneys in nine counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Prosecution Team Replaced in Sen. Stevens Case

This prosecution team had so many screw ups that it seems this was the only logical move. Can this save the government from a mistrial or losing the case all together? Who knows. There’s still the issue of an FBI agent alleging government misconduct in the case.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Six Justice Department prosecutors will no longer participate in key legal proceedings involving former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who was convicted last year on corruption charges.
The move follows a hearing last week in which U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan held four prosecutors in contempt for failing to give defense attorneys documents concerning allegations of misconduct by members of the government’s legal team.
The Justice Department says the prosecutors will no longer be part of legal proceedings dealing with the allegations. They will continue to play a role in other post-trial legal issues, however.
Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said, “It was determined that this was the appropriate action.” She declined to comment further.
For Full Story

D.C. Councilman Marion Barry Pulls a Surprise: He Files his 2007 Taxes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Marion Barry/official photo
Marion Barry/official photo

WASHINGTON — D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, who for years has tested the patience of the electorate and federal prosecutors alike, finally filed his 2007 tax return Tuesday, WRC-TV in Washington reported.
The stations also said Barry, who is still beloved in certain sections of the city, “is threatening to file his 2008 taxes next week, according to a representative for the former mayor.”
Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers asking that Barry get thrown in the slammer for failing to pay his taxes. The station reported that he was on probation for failing to file on time in the past and had failed to file on time in eight of the past nine years.
Barry is hoping that between filing the latest taxes, and his ailments — he is awaiting a kidney transplant — the feds will back off  and allow him to remain a free man.
Stay tuned. The man has a knack for getting in trouble.
Read Government Motion To Jail Barry