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News Story

Like Dad, Mobster John Gotti Jr. May Have His Own “Sammy the Bull” Snitch to Deal With

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

John Gotti Jr./youtube photo

His father had “Sammy the Bull” as the snitch who put him away. John Gotti Jr. may have his own snitch that could sink him.

By Kevin Graham
St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA – Sixteen years ago, “Sammy the Bull” Gravano sent shock waves through a New York courtroom when he testified against his mob boss, John Gotti Sr.
Now another mob insider may prove key to convicting Gotti’s son on federal racketeering and murder charges that grew from a Clearwater FBI investigation.
When John E. Alite’s confession in a racketeering conspiracy charge became public this week, it confirmed what some attorneys already suspected – that Alite had flipped and is likely helping the government build its case against John Gotti Jr.
Prosecutors won’t reveal their witnesses, but three New York-area murders remain the common denominator between Alite, 46, and Gotti, 44.

For Full Story

See Video After His Arrest Earlier This Year

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

Government Psychologists Told Bush Folks Waterboarding al Qaeda Was 100% Effective

Even though we’ve heard over time that waterboarding may not always net accurate information, government psychologists gave it a hearty endorsement. That may have been what the administration needed to hear before using it.

By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration approved the use of “waterboarding” on Al Qaeda detainees after receiving reports from government psychologists that it was “100 percent effective” in breaking the will of U.S. military personnel subjected to the technique during training, according to documents released today by a Senate Committee.
The Senate Armed Services report concludes that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques-including forcing detainees to stand naked, subjecting them to growling dogs and depriving them of sleep-were discussed by top members of the National Security Council and other senior administration officials inside the White House.
Some officials expressed strong concerns about the legality of the methods. But the techniques were ultimately given the green light, based on government assessments that showed such methods were quick and effective in breaking down the resistance of U.S. military officers who were subjected to them in so-called Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes.
For Full Story

Ex-Ill. Gov. Walker Who Went to Prison Calls Blagojevich’s Conduct “Disgraceful”

By Dan Walker
former Illinois Governor

Chicago Tribune
While I admittedly erred in my private life 10 years after serving as Illinois governor-and paid the price for my mistakes-I am too proud of my state and my unblemished service as governor to remain silent about the despicable conduct of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The 76-page criminal complaint’s incredible account of corruption is based on Blagojevich’s taped conversations. In Shakespeare’s words, he is hoisted with his own petard. The complaint ranks with Al Capone in establishing a disgraceful image of Illinois in the minds of people all over the world.
Just as with Richard Nixon, we don’t need a trial to comment on this sordid story. The government’s representation of the tapes alone establish that Blagojevich believed a seat in the U.S. Senate could be sold to the highest bidder. Not just any seat, but the one vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
For Full Statement

Polygraph Isn’t Admissable For Federal Judge on Trial For Fondling Court Case Manager

Too often there’s reasons not to allow a polygraph as evidence in trial. In this case, a federal judge says he’d allow it into evidence, but it wasn’t done right when the federal judge on trial took it.  Guess these guys won’t be playing golf together.

By JUAN A. LOZANO
Associated Press
Judge Samuel Kent

Judge Samuel Kent

HOUSTON – Lie detector test results won’t be allowed as evidence in the trial of a federal judge indicted on charges alleging he fondled a former court case manager, according to a ruling Thursday.
The judge presiding over the case of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent denied a motion to have the two tests considered as evidence. Kent’s attorneys said he passed the exams, showing he is innocent of the charges.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, a Florida jurist appointed to the case, said while he believes polygraph exams can be admitted at trial, he felt the ones performed on Kent in August and September were done incorrectly and contained deficiencies.
“There is no doubt in my mind, given a proper examination, polygraph evidence should be and ought to be admitted,” Vinson said. “In this case, deficiencies arise from the processes of the (polygraph examiner).”
For Full Story
Motion To Allow Polygraph
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Illegal Immigrants Clean Homeland Security Sec. Chertoff’s Home

Under the category of “You’ve Got To Be Kidding” comes the latest: Illegal immigrants cleaned Homeland Sec. Michael Chertoff’s home.

Sec. Michael Chertoff/dhs photo

Sec. Michael Chertoff/dhs photo

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Every few weeks for nearly four years, the Secret Service screened the IDs of employees for a Maryland cleaning company before they entered the house of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation’s top immigration official.
The company’s owner says the workers sailed through the checks — although some of them turned out to be illegal immigrants.
Now, owner James D. Reid finds himself in a predicament that he considers especially confounding. In October, he was fined $22,880 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators said he failed to check identification and work documents and fill out required I-9 verification forms for employees, five of whom he said were part of crews sent to Chertoff’s home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented.
“Our people need to know,” said the Montgomery County businessman. “Our Homeland Security can’t police their own home. How can they police our borders?”

For Full Story

Other Stories of Interest

Gov Lawyer Tells Supreme Court That Mueller and Ashcroft Shouldn’t be Part of Arab Muslim Suit (Washington Post)

FBI Says Company Fraud Caused Consumers to Pay More For Tomato-based Products Like Sauces (San Francisco Chronicle)

Homeland Security Responds to Post Story on Illegal Immigrants Cleaning Chertoff’s Home

Russ Knocke
Department of Homeland Security spokesman
WASHINGTON — Every contractor in the United States has the responsibility of ensuring their workers are legal. As customers, the Chertoffs obtained assurances from Mr. Reid that any personnel he dispatched to their home were authorized to work in the United States.
As soon as the Chertoffs learned that Mr. Reid deceived them by employing some unauthorized workers, they fired him. Further, Secretary Chertoff recused himself from any involvement in immigration enforcement actions that could follow.
The United States Secret Service maintains a round the clock security presence at the residences of protectees, and screens individuals who enter a residence or have business to conduct on the property.
This matter illustrates the need for comprehensive immigration reform, and the importance of effective tools for companies to determine the lawful status of their workforce.
More 91,000 employers have enrolled in E-verify, and there were more than 6.6 million workers checked last year. E-verify is free, fast and available online for employers. It is unfortunate that Mr. Reid did not acknowledge his own personal responsibility and check the eligibility of his work force.”

Sen. Specter Wants to Slow Atty. Gen. Confirmation of Holder; Cites Concerns About Marc Rich Pardon

The prevailing wisdom is that Eric Holder will be confirmed as the new Attorney General come early 2009. But the prevailing wisdom is also that some Republicans will give him a hard time over the pardon of the infamous Marc Rich.

Sen. Leahy supports Eric Holder (left)/official photo

Sen. Leahy supports Eric Holder (left)/official photo

By J. Taylor Rushing
The Hill
WASHINGTON — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, wants to slow down the process of confirming Eric Holder attorney general, citing lingering concerns about the nominee’s role in the 2001 pardon of Marc Rich.
Specter said his concerns do not suggest he would oppose Holder, but said starting the hearings before Jan. 26 is “not realistic or fair.”
Earlier this week Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) set a Jan. 8 confirmation hearing date for Holder and said he would like the nominee confirmed by the time President-elect Obama takes office on Jan. 20.
“There are questions which have to be inquired,” Specter, a former Philadelphia district attorney, said.
Specter said he has drawn no conclusions about Holder’s role in the pardon of Rich, but cited lingering political fallout from the controversial tenure of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the need to ensure the department stays nonpolitical.
For Full Story

UPDATE: 4:10 p.m. Friday: Sen. Leahy Says He Won’t Give in To GOP and Delay Hearing (Huffington Post)

Three Men Convicted in N.J. Bank Heist That Ended With an FBI Agent Fatally Shooting Another Agent

Another senseless tragedy for the FBI. The only upside for the bureau: the men in the robbery were convicted Wednesday.

By Matthew Reilly
The Newark Star-Ledger
TRENTON, N.J. — Three young New Brunswick men, whose bank robbery spree ended in an incident in which FBI agent Barry Lee Bush was shot and killed by another agent, were convicted today of conspiracy and various bank robbery and weapons charges in U.S. District Court in Trenton.
Wilfredo Berrios, Efrain Lynn and Francisco Herrera-Genao, all in their 20s and from New Brunswick, were not charged in connection with Bush’s death outside a PNC Bank in the Whitehouse section of Readington Township on April 5, 2007, but all three were found guilty guilty on charges that will put them behind bars for decades.
“This is a tragic story in a number of respects,” said Jacob Elberg, who helped prosecute the case. “The good thing today is we finally reached a conclusion. Much of what happened here today reflects the impressive work the FBI did in tracking this group down and catching them in the act before they could do what they had done four times before.”
Berrios, Lynn and Herrara-Genao were charged with robbing banks in Piscataway, East Brunswick, Ocean Township and South Brunswick before they were arrested.
For Full Story