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News Story

Sen. Roland Burris Defends Himself About Gov. Blago’s Campaign Solicitation

Vermont U.S. Atty. Thomas Anderson Will Step Down To Work for Justice in D.C.

U.S. Atty. Thomas Anderson/official photo

U.S. Atty. Thomas Anderson/official photo

It comes as no surprise that Anderson is stepping down. The new U.S. Attorney is expected to be Tristram Coffin.

Burlingt Free Press Staff
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont’s U.S. Attorney Thomas Anderson announced late Friday that he will leave his post Feb. 28. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Van de Graaf will serve as acting U.S. attorney on that date, according to a news release.
Anderson was nominated as U.S. attorney by President George Bush in 2006. Acting on the recommendation of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., President Barack Obama is expected to name Burlington attorney Tristram Coffin as the new U.S. attorney soon.
Anderson has accepted a job with the Justice Department in Washington, the news release said.
The U.S. Attorney Office in Vermont has 18 assistant attorneys and is responsible for conducting all federal criminal prosecutions and civil litigation in Vermont involving the United States.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Calls Sen. Roland Burris a “Lying Little Sneak”

Indicted Mississippi Judge Was Civil Rights Era Hero

A reputation as a legend, years of public service, all tainted by criminal charges.


By ADAM NOSSITER
New York Times

As a young prosecutor in the early 1990s, Bobby DeLaughter was a hero to the civil rights community, a white Mississippian who gambled with his future by pursuing an old race crime that many in the state simply wanted to forget. Mr. DeLaughter’s doggedness in prosecuting the white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith was celebrated in a Hollywood film and in books, and he was regarded as a model of probity.
This week though, Mr. DeLaughter, now a Mississippi judge, suffered an abrupt reversal of fortune: he appeared in leg irons and handcuffs in federal court in Oxford, Miss., pleading not guilty to a federal indictment accusing him of unduly favoring the celebrated former plaintiffs’ lawyer Richard Scruggs, now serving seven years for efforts to influence judges, including Mr. DeLaughter.
Judge DeLaughter has been caught in a bribery scandal that has rocked the legal establishment in his home state, and brought low some of its leading figures. The millions that Mr. Scruggs gained in asbestos and tobacco litigation have sloshed over an impoverished state, continuing to taint public officials and lawyers, figures likely and unlikely. On Friday, a former Mississippi state auditor, Steve Patterson, was sentenced for his part in a Scruggs-inspired scheme, a day after Judge DeLaughter’s own court appearance.
For Full Story

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial: Don’t Hire Political Hacks for U.S. Atty.

The jockeying for U.S. Attorney spots around the country is in full swing. The Editorial page of the Philadelphia Inquirer is asking the President to do the right thing.

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With the change in presidents, one of the key moves by the Obama administration regarding the Justice Department will be to fill the 93 U.S. attorney posts nationwide, including one in Philadelphia.
The selection process hasn’t received much attention given the focus in Washington on the stimulus and bailout measures, but there is much jockeying behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, politics often play a big role in who gets nominated for these coveted U.S. attorney posts. But that doesn’t mean the job should go to a political hack.
To understand how important it is for Philadelphia to have a strong and independent U.S. attorney who is not afraid to investigate sacred cows, one needs only to peek inside the federal courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets, where the lengthy criminal trial of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo is nearing an end.
Federal prosecutors spent years building a detailed case against Fumo, perhaps the most powerful politician in Pennsylvania over the last three decades.
To Read More

Feds Honing in On U.S. Military in Graft Probe Involving Rebuilding of Iraq

It will take a long long time to sort through all the American corruption in Iraq, which has unfortunately involved high-ranking U.S.  officials in Iraq.

By JAMES GLANZ, C.J. CHIVERS and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM
New York Times

Federal authorities examining the early, chaotic days of the $125 billion American-led effort to rebuild Iraq have significantly broadened their inquiry to include senior American military officers who oversaw the program, according to interviews with senior government officials and court documents.
Court records show that last month investigators subpoenaed the personal bank records of Col. Anthony B. Bell, who is now retired from the Army but who was in charge of reconstruction contracting in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 when the small operation grew into a frenzied attempt to remake the country’s broken infrastructure. In addition, investigators are examining the activities of Lt. Col. Ronald W. Hirtle of the Air Force, who was a senior contracting officer in Baghdad in 2004, according to two federal officials involved in the inquiry.
For Full Story

Family Asks Judge to Go Easy on Guard Who Killed a Murderer in Afghanistan

This is a perplexing case for the court. The outcome is unclear and so is the concept of justice.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — The family of the social scientist who died after being attacked with a burning pitcher of gasoline in Afghanistan is asking a federal judge to be lenient with the New Orleans security contractor who apprehended and later shot and killed her attacker.
Sentencing the man to prison “would be putting our family through even more anguish,” said Paul Loyd, the brother of Paula Loyd, 36, who died in a San Antonio hospital two months after the attack that burned 60 percent of her body.
Don Ayala, 46, who has lived in New Orleans for the past five or six years, worked as a private security contractor assigned to protect Loyd and other members of her team, pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter. He faces up to 15 years in prison, although prosecutors are recommending a significantly lower sentence when he faces federal Judge Claude M. Hilton on May 8 in Alexandria, Va.
For Full Story

Here We Go Again: Ill. State Lawmakers Call for Criminal Perjury Probe into Sen. Roland Burris

Just when you thought the dust has settled for the time being.

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

Sen. Roland Burris/official photo

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND DAVE MCKINNEY
Chicago Sun-Times

State lawmakers are calling for a criminal investigation into whether U.S. Sen. Roland Burris committed perjury before a state impeachment panel, in the wake of a Sun-Times exclusive story published online today.
The development comes after the Chicago Democrat failed to initially disclose under oath to a House panel that he was hit up for campaign cash by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother.
State Rep. James Durkin (R-Western Springs) said Saturday that the Sangamon County state prosecutor’s office will be asked to review Burris’ Jan. 8 sworn testimony before the House panel to determine whether Burris (D-Chicago) perjured himself.
“I don’t trust anything that comes out of Roland Burris’ mouth or from his pen,” Durkin said.
“We had a major league situation facing us. This is a United States senate seat that came under the most clouded of circumstances,” Durkin said. “This is supposed to be about the year of reform this is about ethics and about transparency.”

For Full Story

Slice of History: Nixon Talks to Atty. Gen. Mitchell About Pentagon Papers and Hoover