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Ex-FBI Dir. Louis Freeh Writes Glowing Letter to Judiciary Endorsing Eric Holder for Atty. Gen.

Louis J. Freeh

Louis J. Freeh

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has written a glowing letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsing nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. for Attorney General, saying he “displayed total integrity” as a high-ranking Justice Department official when President Clinton and other senior members were subjects of a grand jury probe.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 7, Freeh wrote:
“As the Senate Committee on the Judiciary well remembers, my tenure as FBI Director required that the Bureau and I initiate a series of the most sensitive criminal investigations where the President of the United States, who appointed me, and other senior members of the Administration were subjects of grand jury inquiry.
“During this highly-charged time, Eric served as United States Attorney for Washington, D.C., and later as Deputy Attorney General. In my then position of FBI Director , I worked closely and directly with Eric and had the unique opportunity to observe and evaluate all of his actions in connection with the execution of these criminal investigations.
“In all, Eric’s interaction with me as FBI Director, as well as his close coordination with my Deputy and other Assistant Directors, who also had extensive and sometimes daily contact with him, Eric always displayed total integrity, courageous leadership, complete fairness and, once again and most importantly, political independence.”
Freeh said after left the FBI and became the general counsel for MBNA America Bank in Wilmington, De., he retained Holder — who had gone into private practice — as outside counsel for the bank.
“As General Counsel, I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric for all the same reasons I described above: his excellent legal skills, complete integrity, sense of fairness, courage, and most importantly, my confidence he would provide me with his independent judgment without fear or favor.”
The Senate Judiciary begins confirmation hearings for Jan. 15 for Holder, 57, who is an attorney in Washington for the law firm Covington & Burling.

Read Louis Freeh Letter to Judiciary

Prosecutors Want Grand Jury Testimony Released For Sentencing To Show Just How Corrupt CIA Official Was

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

Kyle Foggo/msnbc

It seems the public has a right to know. But does that include grand jury material after trial? The prosecutors say yes.

MATTHEW BARAKAT
AP News

Kyle “Dusty” Foggo is the highest ranking officer in the history of the CIA to be convicted of a federal crime, admitting he abused his influence to steer contracts toward an old friend who showered him with vacations, gourmet dinners and other gifts.
But if the public knew the full extent of his misconduct, they would be outraged, prosecutors said Friday as they urged a judge to make public secret grand jury testimony in the case against Foggo.
Foggo was appointed in 2004 to be the agency’s executive director and third-ranking officer under then-director Porter Goss. Foggo resigned in 2006 as he came under investigation.
Prosecutor Jason Forge told U.S. District Judge James Cacheris that the public has a right to know the depth of Foggo’s misconduct and they want the judge to consider the transcripts during sentencing.

For Full Story

Secret Service Charges Calif. Man With Threatening Obama With Racist Note on Yahoo

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of what’s expected to be an endless problem.

By Kevin Poulsen
Wired

A Southern California man was charged Thursday with threatening a presidential candidate, for posting a racist note to a Yahoo message board in October expressing displeasure over Barack Obama’s candidacy, and predicting “he will have a 50 cal in the head soon.”
Walter Edward Bagdasarian, 47, was found with an arsenal of six weapons when Secret Service agents raided his La Mesa home in November, according to court records (.pdf). He had three handguns and three rifles, including a 30.06 with a telescopic sight and a Remington .50 caliber muzzle-loading rifle.
Bagdasarian is not accused of actually plotting against Obama, and he was released last month on a $100,000 real estate bond. Bagdasarian’s attorney did not return a phone call Friday.
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

State Prosecutors Indict Baltimore Mayor On Curruption Charges (Baltimore Sun)

Illinois House Votes to Impeach Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich holds press confernce Friday After Impeachment Vote

Gov. Blagojevich holds press conference Friday After Impeachment Vote

The Blago circus continued today, and frankly, it was not a good day for him.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — The Illinois House of Representatives on Friday voted almost unanimously to impeach embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
A monitor shows Speaker Michael Madigan as the Illinois House debates the governor’s impeachment Friday.
The vote was 114-1, with three representatives not voting.
The matter now moves to the state Senate, which will try the case. A two-thirds vote in the Senate is required to remove the governor from office.
Blagojevich’s actions “show a public servant who is prepared to turn public service into an avenue for private benefit,” the chairwoman of the House impeachment committee, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, said at the start of Friday’s impeachment debate.
“They show a public servant who has betrayed his oath of office, who has betrayed the public trust, who is not fit to govern the state of Illinois.”
For Full Story

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Burris Appointment Legit (CNN)

Hello Houston, We’ve Got a Problem: Feds Bust NASA Scientist With Child Porn on Work Computer

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Alfred B. Schultz/ photo ssed

Not a good way to start the New Year.

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

The first criminal case of 2009 out of the Greenbelt office of the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office accuses Alfred B. Schultz, a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with looking at child pornography on a NASA computer last August. A criminal information–a document filed when a defendant in a case has waived indictment–was filed in federal court against Schultz on Jan. 5.
“I don’t know what happened,” Schultz tells City Paper in a Jan. 8 phone conversation about the accusation. “They said I looked at porn sites, and I don’t remember doing it. I may have done some of it, but I don’t remember.”
Schultz says he first learned of the investigation during the first week of December. He says he has a lawyer and is going to see the prosecutor in mid-February.
He also says he has talked to family members about the charges.
“They think I may have been depressed for about a year now,” he says. “I’m going to try to straighten this out. I’m going to see a psychiatrist.”
For Full Story

Read 1-page Criminal Information

A.G. Nominee Holder Repeatedly Pushed to Get 1999 Clemency for 16 Members of Violent Puerto Rican Nationalist Groups

Eric Holder may be one of the more low-key nominees in the Obama administration, but his confirmation hearing promises to be anything but low key.

Eric Holder/law firm photo

Eric Holder/law firm photo

By Josh Meyer and Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.
Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now. The new details are of particular interest because Republican senators have vowed to revisit Holder’s role during his confirmation hearings next week.
Holder had no comment for this article, but a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team said Holder’s actions were appropriate.
For Full Story

Fed Probe into Gov. Richardson Case Gives Rare Glimpse into Wrongdoing in Municipal Bond Biz

Gov. Richardson

Gov. Richardson

More dirt on the financial dealings in this country can’t make us feel very good.

By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH
New York Times

The federal investigation that prompted Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary offers a rare glimpse into a long-simmering investigation of possible bid-rigging, tax evasion and other wrongdoing throughout the municipal bond business.
Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year.
For Full Story

House Votes to Continue Purusing U.S. Atty. Firings

Administrations are changing. But Congress still wants to get to the bottom of the U.S. Attorney firings that tarnished the Justice Department.

By Lisa Mascaro
Las Vegas Sun
WASHINGTON – The untold story of the firing of Nevada’s former U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden may yet be unraveled. The House on Tuesday voted to continue a lawsuit seeking testimony from the Bush administration about the politicizing of the Justice Department.
As part of a routine package of rules governing the opening of the new Congress, the House agreed to continue the lawsuit it brought last year after President George W. Bush’s former officials ignored subpoenas to produce documents and appear before the House Judiciary Committee.
The move by the Democratic-controlled House is an assertion of congressional authority after several years of what scholars see as executive branch overreach by the Bush administration.
Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley said Congress should do no less.
“A very fine U.S. attorney from the state of a Nevada was unceremoniously removed for no reason – I would like to know why, I would like it top be made public and I would like those responsible punished,” Berkley said. “By passing this rule we have assured this will be done.”
For Full Story


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