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Mobster John Gotti Jr. Wants Out on Bail; Motion Says He Quit Mob Years Ago

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for John Gotti Jr. filed a motion Monday saying their client quit the mob years ago and deserves to be free on bail pending trial in New York on allegations of cocaine trafficking, murder, extortion, jury tampering and kidnapping.
The 14-page motion filed in U.S. District Court said Gotti is not threat to the community and the government has ignored its own evidence on wiretaps which show “Gotti had in fact withdrawn from his former life”.
The motion, filed by attorneys Charles Carnesi and Seth Ginsberg, cites a  February 2004 government wiretap in which Gotti tells someone that he’s done with the mob.
“I’m a nobody,” Gotti says. ” I walked away from this six and half years ago. I’ve been doing nothing for six and a half years. I’ve been stranded on an island by myself.”
The motion also notes that there is no evidence, contrary to the government’s charges, that Gotti was involved in three murders between 1998 and 1991.
In other motions filed Monday, the government noted that it had a key informant John Alite, Gotti’s right hand man,  who along with others, provided solid information that lead to the Aug. 2008 indictment.
Gotti was arrested Aug. 5, 2008 at his Long Island home.

Read Gotti’s Motion

Federal Agencies Must Learn: Twitter and Facebook Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore

With all the forms of communication these days, federal agencies need to keep up with the “New Media”.

Chris Battle

Chris Battle

By Chris Battle
Security DeBrief
WASHINGTON — The State Department continues to lead the way among federal agencies making use of new media tools. Colleen Graffey, deputy assistant secretary for public diplomacy, published a column (“A Tweet in Foggy Bottom”) in the Washington Post yesterday outlining why she has set up a Twitter account.
“Not that long ago,” Graffey writes, “communicating diplomat-to-diplomat was enough. Agreements were reached behind closed doors and announced in a manner and degree that suited the schedule and desires of the governments involved, not the general population. In fact, the public was by and large an afterthought. But the proliferation of democracies and the emergence of the round-the-clock media environment has brought an end to those days. Now, governments must communicate not only with their people but also with foreign audiences, including through public diplomacy. … Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect, and by linking my messages to video and photos, I can inform whole new audiences about U.S. views and ideas in a format with which they feel comfortable.”
Simply put, Twitter is just one more tool through which we can connect. Well put.
For Full Column

S.C. Trooper Pleads in Fed Court to Kicking Suspect in Head After Highway Chase

The trooper was caught on video abusing the suspect. It might make the public wonder what would have happened had there not been an official video.

By MEG KINNARD
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A former South Carolina trooper caught on video kicking a suspect in the head after a highway chase pleaded guilty Monday to violating the man’s civil rights, according to federal court documents.
John B. Sawyer faces up to 10 years in prison. A few months earlier, a jury acquitted another trooper of the same charge, depriving a man of his right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer, in a different incident also captured on video.
The videos were among several the South Carolina Department of Public Safety released last year showing troopers acting aggressively. The videos were made public in response to media requests.
Sawyer was indicted in July after the state released a May 2006 video that showed him kicking Sergio Caridi in the head several times. Caridi, who is from New York, had led troopers and sheriff’s deputies on a 30-mile chase on Interstate 95 in a dump truck.
For Full Story

Read Brief Indictment

Former Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell Dead at Age 90

Griffin Bell
Griffin Bell

He was a man who brought justice to Justice.

By TOM BAXTER
Special to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Griffin Boyette Bell, who served as Jimmy Carter’s attorney general and whose South Georgia drawl and lawyerly mannerisms disguised an unusually innovative legal mind, died Monday morning. He was 90.
“He was thinking outside the box before there was a box,” said Bob Steed, senior partner at King and Spalding, which Bell molded over six decades into a politically connected law firm with a national client list.
Bell died at about 9:45 a.m. at Piedmont Hospital, according to family members. Bell had been suffering from kidney disease, pancreatic cancer and pneumonia.
A grave-side service will be held for Bell on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the historic Oak Grove Cemetery in Americus. On Friday, a memorial service will be held in Atlanta at 11 a.m., at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, 2715 Peachtree Rd. N.E.
“Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend Griffin Bell,” former President Carter said in a statement released through the Carter Center.
For Full Story

Read Statement from Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Obama to Nominate David Ogden for Dep. Atty. General

David Ogden

David Ogden

By Alland Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – As expected, private attorney David Ogden, a former Justice Department lawyer under President Clinton, will be the nominee for Deputy Attorney General.
President elect-Barack Obama made the announcement Monday morning.
Obama also  announced that he planned to nominate three other people from the Clinton administration to key posts: Elena Kagan for Solicitor General; Tom Perrelli for associate Attorney General and Dawn Johnsen for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.
According to the Obama press release:
  • Elena Kagan is currently the dean of Harvard Law School. She first started teaching as a visiting professor in 1999 and was appointed dean in 2003. Under Clinton, she served as associate counsel to president and later as deputy assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
    Tom Perrelli is currently Managing Patner of Jenner & Block’s Washington office and is co-chair of the firm’s Entertainment and New Media Practice. From 1997 to 1999 he served as counsel to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
    David Ogden is a member of the Department of Justice Agency Review lead for the Obama transition team, is  a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. Under the Clinton administration, he served as assistant Attorney General, Civil Division from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that he served as chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
    Dawn Johnsen is currently a professor at Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington where she teaches constitutional law. She previously served in the Office of Legal Counsel for the Justice Department as acting assistant attorney general and as deputy assistant attorney general in the Clinton Administration.

The Troubled Life of Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

The mystery behind the anthrax attacks lingers. Here’s more about the man the FBI believes was behind the fatal mailings in 2001.

Bruce Ivins

Bruce Ivins

By Scott Shane
New York Times
FREDERICK, Md. – Inside the Army laboratory at Fort Detrick, the government’s brain for biological defense, Bruce Edwards Ivins paused to memorialize his moment in the spotlight as the anthrax panic of 2001 reached its peak.
Dr. Ivins titled his e-mail message “In the lab” and attached photographs: the gaunt microbiologist bending over Petri dishes of anthrax, and colonies of the deadly bacteria, white commas against blood-red nutrient.
Outside, on that morning of Nov. 14, 2001, five people were dead or dying, a dozen more were sick and fearful thousands were flooding emergency rooms. The postal system was crippled; senators and Supreme Court justices had fled contaminated offices. And the Federal Bureau of Investigation was struggling with a microbe for a murder weapon and a crime scene that stretched from New York to Florida.
But Dr. Ivins was chipper – the anonymous scientist finally at the center of great events. “Hi, all,” he began the e-mail message. “We were taking some photos today of blood agar cultures of the now infamous ‘Ames’ strain of Bacillus anthracis. Here are a few.” He sent the message to those who ordinarily received his corny jokes and dour news commentaries: his wife and two teenage children, former colleagues and high school classmates. He even included an F.B.I. agent working on the case.
For Full Story

Race is On For U.S. Atty. Job in Charlotte

All around the country ambitious attorneys are throwing their names into the race for U.S. Attorney. Here in Charlotte the race is on.

Attorney Anne M. Tompkins

By Gary L. Wright
Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE — Three former federal prosecutors from Charlotte – Pete Anderson, Anne Tompkins (photo to left)  and Thomas Walker – are among at least four people hoping to become the next U.S. attorney for Charlotte and the Western District of North Carolina.
Each would have to gain the support of incoming Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan to have a chance of replacing Republican U.S. Attorney Gretchen Shappert, who was selected for the post in 2003 by President Bush.
Hagan will recommend Shappert’s successor to President Obama. The Democratic president will nominate the replacement, who must then be confirmed by the Senate.
For Full Story

U.S. Starting to Pour Hundreds of Millions into Mexico To Stop the Violent Expansion of Drug Traffickers

The drug war south of the border is out of control. At a recent law enforcement conference in Southern Calif., law enforcement officers were warned not to cross into Mexico for fun.
By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON – The U.S. has begun pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into Mexico to help stanch the expansion of drug-fueled violence and corruption that has claimed more than 5,000 lives south of the border this year.
The bloodshed has spread to American cities, even to the heartland, and U.S. officials are realizing that their fight against powerful drug cartels responsible for the carnage has come down to this: Either walk away or support Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s strategy, even with the risk that counter-narcotics intelligence, equipment and training could end up in the hands of cartel bosses.
Both nations agree that the cartels have morphed into transnational crime syndicates that pose an urgent threat to their security and that of the region. Law enforcement agencies from the border to Maine acknowledge that the traffickers have brought a war once dismissed as a foreign affair to the doorstep of local communities. The trail of slayings, kidnappings and other crimes stretches through at least 195 U.S. cities.
For Full Story