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News Story

Bush Rejected Pardons for Some Big Names

Duke Cunningham

Duke Cunningham

Nearly everyone expected Pres. Bush to show some generosity when it came to pardons in the waning days of his presidency. But apparently, the President wasn’t feeling that generous –or feared some pardons would come back to haunt him, as they did for Pres. Clinton.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush, on his last full day in office, formally struck down the petitions for clemency of some high-profile politicians and businessmen, including former lawmakers Randall “Duke” Cunningham, Edwin Edwards and Mario Biaggi and “junk bond” financier Michael Milken, the Justice Department said today.
The chief of the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers, confirmed the pardon rejections through a spokeswoman, in response to queries from The Times’ Washington Bureau.
The Justice Department said Bush also denied petitions for clemency for two men who became highly polarizing symbols of their eras. One of them was John Walker Lindh, the young American serving 20 years in prison for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan at a time when it was fighting U.S. military forces just after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Bush also denied one of the longest-standing petitions for clemency, for Leonard Peltier, a Native American activist sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder of two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His application had been under consideration since 1993, current and former Justice Department officials said.
For Full Story

Legal Observers Say Gov. Blago’s Media Blitz Could Hurt Him in Court

Gov. Blago is creating a nightmare scenario for any attorney who will have to defend him in court. There’s two words you never seem to hear from the guy: “No comment”.

BY NATASHA KORECKI
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Gov. Blagojevich’s media blitz might make him feel better about his case, but all those recent high-profile interviews are likely to come back to bite him in a big way, experienced defense lawyers say.
That’s because any statement the governor makes about his case could be used against him by prosecutors at a future trial.
But it isn’t a two-way street. Blagojevich’s lawyers can’t play the governor’s proclamations of innocence to jurors, said defense lawyer Joel Levin.
Since last week, Blagojevich has appeared on radio shows and national television programs including “The View,” and “Larry King Live.” Blagojevich likened his situation to the jailing of peace and civil rights leaders and made references to the charges.
“Given that he doesn’t know all the evidence against him, there’s tremendous risk in what he’s doing,” said Levin, who prosecuted ex-Gov. George Ryan. “Some of the statements . . . might fit nicely into the theories [prosecutors] are laying out.”

For Full Story

Businessman Pleads Guilty in Detroit City Hall Probe; Ex-Mayor Kilpatrick Could Be Implicated

James Rosendall/zoominfo photo
James Rosendall/zoominfo photo

In a town on life support, where the poor are getting poorer, and unemployment is far too high, elected officials are apparently finding ways to line their pockets.

BY DAVID ASHENFELTER, JOE SWICKARD, M.L. ELRICK and JIM SCHAEFER
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — An executive for a Texas waste disposal company spent seven years and hundreds of thousands of dollars lavishing cash, campaign contributions, airplane flights and a case of Cristal champagne in an effort to win the support of Detroit city officials for a $1.2-billion sludge disposal contract.
But it took Synagro Technologies executive James Rosendall only 10 minutes to confess his deeds Monday when he pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy in Detroit federal court.
Rosendall, 44, did not publicly identify the members of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration, City Council and other city officials who are described, but not named, in the court record laying out Rosendall’s pay-to-play scheme.
But the voluminous allegations surrounding the person identified in court as City Official A appear to point to events, travels and activities that line up with Kilpatrick’s years in elected office.

For Full Story

Read Plea Agreement

Read Transcript of Plea Hearing

Mobster Sentenced in Chicago To 20 Years: Judge Calls That Lenient

The old mobsters in this world are fading away, either dying off or going off to prison. Sometimes the offspring have tried to take over, but often times they haven’t been as street wise. Here’s one of from the older generation.

By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — A longtime organized crime figure accused by the government of helping to murder a friend to keep him from talking was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison by a judge who called the punishment lenient.
Paul Schiro, 71, of Phoenix was the first to be sentenced among five men convicted in September 2007 at Chicago’s biggest organized crime trial in decades.
“When somebody said we want you to help us kill your friend there was no evidence of hesitation,” a stern U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel told Schiro.
Schiro, described by prosecutors as a career criminal, was sentenced to 5 1/2 years just seven years ago after pleading guilty to being part of a gang of jewel thieves led by the Chicago police department’s former chief of detectives, William Hanhardt.

For Full Story

Read Indictment

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Tennesse Man Pleads Guilty to Trying to Sell Atomic Secrets

The FBI Clashes With U.S. Secret Service Just For Fun

Mueller (left) and Sullivan

Mueller (left) and Sullivan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Competition between the FBI and U.S. Secret Service over the years hasn’t always been playful.
But this past Saturday it definitely was.
The two agencies squared off in a hockey game before a standing-room only crowd at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., the practice rink of the Washington Capitals.
The game raised $9,000 for the family of Sam Hicks, the Pittsburgh FBI agent who was fatally shot last fall while serving a search warrant.  And oh yes, the FBI won 5-4 in overtime.
FBI Director Robert Mueller III skated on to the ice in an FBI hockey Jersey with Hick’s name on the back. U.S. Secret Service director Mark Sullivan, wearing a Secret Service hockey jersey, joined his team in warm ups, according to the FBI.
The two agencies had just worked elbow-to-elbow on the intense presidential inauguration.

R.I. U.S Atty. Robert Clark Corrente Has One Foot Out the Door

Robert Clark Corrente

Robert Clark Corrente

As the Obama regime settles in, many Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys like Robert Clark Corrente already have one foot out the door. How many U.S. Attorneys get to stay on is unclear. Some are simply waiting for the right outside job opportunity.

By ERIC TUCKER
Associated Press Writer
PROVIDENCE, R.I.U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente is keeping one eye on his ongoing investigation into government corruption-and the other on his own job prospects.
Corrente, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2004, is preparing to be replaced as Rhode Island’s top federal prosecutor now that Democrat Barack Obama is in the White House. He says he’s unsure how much longer he’ll stay on but calls his departure looming.
“I’m poking around now, thinking what I’m going to do next,” the 52-year-old told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I haven’t settled on that just yet.”
For Full Story

Obama Picks UN Official Jane Holl Lute for Homeland Security

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — President Obama has named United Nations Assist. Sec. Gen. Jane Holl Lute as deputy Sec. for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Additionally, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano  has picked key senior staff appointments: Noah Kroloff, chief of staff for Policy to the Secretary and Jan Lesher, chief of staff for operations to the Secretary.
“I am confident that the counsel and leadership of my senior team will benefit this department greatly,” Napolitano said in a prepared statement. “Jane’s experience leading large operations with broad and challenging missions lends itself to the undertaking we have before us at Homeland Security. I look forward to working with these talented individuals as we work to further unify this department under our common mission.”
A DHS press release provided the following information about the new appointees:

  • Jane Holl Lute has served under two presidents on the National Security Council staff at the White House. Ms. Lute is currently the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General charged with coordinating efforts to build sustainable peace in countries emerging from conflict. Previously, as Assistant Secretary-General in both the United Nations Department of Field Support and Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Ms. Lute managed and provided critical support to all UN field missions, peacekeeping operations, and special political missions in over thirty countries around the world.
    Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Lute was Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund, the entities established to administer Ted Turner’s $1 billion contribution to support the goals of the United Nations.
    Ms. Lute headed the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and was a senior public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Prior to working at the White House, Ms. Lute had a distinguished career in the United States Army, including service in the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.
    She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.
  • Noah Kroloff, Chief of Staff for Policy to the Secretary was former Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy for Governor Napolitano.
  • Jan Lesher, Chief of Staff for Operations to the Secretary was former  Chief of Staff for Governor Napolitano and Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce.