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FBI Probing Foreclosure Scam That Involves Bogus Rental Units

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Some Legal Observers Say Ex-Rep. William Jefferson Trial No Sure Thing

Some legal observers are starting to raise questions about the Rep. William Jefferson case. Some say there’s no guarantee of victory for the prosecution. Jefferson has some top notch defense attorneys. Even so, with the former Congressman facing 16 counts, there’s a good chance, even if the jury is conflicted, it might strike up a compromise and convict on only a few counts, thinking its giving Jefferson a break, not realizing it will only take one felony conviction to send him off to prison. Whatever the case, we’ll soon know the answer. Opening statements begin Tuesday.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — When Peter Zeidenberg, a Washington lawyer and former prosecutor, read about the 2007 indictment of then-Congressman William Jefferson, he figured the Justice Department had a pretty strong case.

Now, he and some other prominent legal experts believe that the Jefferson corruption trial, although unlikely to end in acquittal, could produce a hung jury. A guilty verdict requires all 12 jurors to agree.

After three days of jury selection last week, the trial begins in earnest Tuesday with opening statements from the prosecution and defense.

When the government filed its 16-count corruption indictment in June 2007, alleging that the New Orleans Democrat had demanded and, in some cases, received bribes in return for his help promoting projects in Western Africa, Jefferson’s prospects looked grim.

For Full Story

Weekend History Series: J. Edgar Hoover Testifies About Communism

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6kD0uFOLng

U.S. and Italian Authorities Bust Hackers Who Stole To Fund Terrorism

Hacking isn’t just for kids or just for kicks.  It can be dangerous and for  deadly purposes.hacker-art

By SIOBHAN GORMAN and EVAN PEREZ
The Wall Street Journal

U.S. and Italian authorities said Friday they arrested a group of hackers and conspirators who allegedly stole from phone companies around the world. The illegal profits funded terrorist activities, Italian officials alleged.

A federal grand jury in New Jersey indicted three people Friday, including one man who has been linked to al Qaeda. The three suspects, who live in the Philippines, are accused of providing Pakistani nationals in Italy with access to stolen phone lines.

The same company that was used to pay the three hackers also financed the communications of terrorists in last year’s Mumbai attacks, in which a small group killed more than 170 people, people familiar with the matter alleged.

For Full Story

Fed Judge Sentences Ex-Chicago Cop to 3 Years-Plus For Beating Man in Wheelchair

chicago-police-badgeThere’s just no defending a beating when it involves a man in a wheelchair– particularly when it’s caught on video. U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said he took no pleasure in the prosecution, but said the crime had to be addressed.

By NATASHA KORECKI AND TESS FARDON
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — After his client was hit with a 3½-year sentence Thursday for the videotaped beating of a man in a wheelchair, a defense lawyer launched an explosive salvo against Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis.

“I’ve got a message for all those fine officers in blue out there: After 15 years on the job, don’t snap. You’ll get thrown under the bus and it’ll be a federal bus and it’ll be by your own superintendent,” said a fuming Terry Gillespie, who represents former cop William Cozzi.

“This prosecution brought by Supt. Weis was misguided and vindictive,” Gillespie said.

The remarks came moments after Cozzi, 52, was sentenced for the 2005 beating of a 60-year-old man who was handcuffed and shackled to a wheelchair.

For Full Story

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2yT32nOxWA

Are Rage Filled Hate Groups Terror Time Bombs?

Tulsa U.S. Atty. David O’Meilia Stepping Down

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tulsa U.S. Attorney David E. O’Meilia is stepping down June 28, adding to the  growing number of  Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys who have resigned in recent months,  the Associated Press reported.

The 57-year-old first served as acting U.S. Attorney in October 2001 and was confirmed in January 2002.tulsa He will return to private practice in Tulsa, the wire service reporter.

O’Meilia has been practicing law in Oklahoma for more than 30 years. He started out in October 1976 as an assistant public defender in Tulsa County, according to his biography posted on the U.S. Attorney website.

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Convicted Ex-NBA Ref Tim Donaghy Says He Was Beaten By Inmate With Mob Ties

In the old days, referee Tim Donaghy stood up to some of the toughest guys in the NBA, and all he had was a whistle and a striped shirt that gave him plenty muscle. But in prison, the only whistle Donaghy may be hearing is from another inmate interested in him.

Tim Donaghy/nbc sports

Tim Donaghy/nbc sports

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

Tim Donaghy, the ex-NBA referee serving 15 months for his part in a betting scheme, has told a consultant he hired that he was beaten in prison by an inmate with connections to the New York mob.

Next week, Donaghy, whose sentence at the federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., is set to expire in October, will enter a halfway house in Tampa, Fla., a process aimed at easing his post-release transition.

Yesterday’s news came not from federal prison officials but via a press release from Executive Prison Consultants, a company that serves as an advocate for federal prisoners.

According to that release, Donaghy was injured in a November assault by a fellow inmate “claiming ties to the New York mob.” That prisoner beat Donaghy with a heavy object, causing severe knee and leg injuries that will require surgery.

For Full Story