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News Story

Republicans Highlight Pardon Issue For A.G. Candidate Holder

Can the Republicans pardon the pardons when it comes to A.G. candidate Eric Holder?

Eric Holder/law firm photo

Eric Holder/law firm photo

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee yesterday highlighted the role of attorney general candidate Eric H. Holder Jr. in controversial 2001 pardons, but GOP senators avoided direct attacks on Barack Obama’s leading choice to lead the Justice Department.
Republican congressional aides said no information had emerged that would disqualify Holder, a former D.C. Superior Court judge and U.S. attorney in the District, from serving as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. But Capitol Hill aides from both sides of the aisle nonetheless hauled out seven-year-old hearing records to refresh their memories about Holder’s inability to prevent a presidential pardon for fugitive Marc Rich on the final day of the Clinton administration.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ariz. Gov Napolitano Picked to Head Homeland Security

Gov. Napolitano whose name also came up as a possible candidate for Attorney General, is the choice for a relatively new agency some say needs revamping.

Gov. Janet Napolitano/official  photo

Gov. Janet Napolitano/official photo

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), whose handling of immigration issues brought her accolades from fellow governors, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to serve as secretary of homeland security, Democratic sources said late Wednesday.
Napolitano, 50, was an early supporter of Obama and was the only elected official tapped to serve on his transition team. She was reelected in 2006 to a second term as governor of Arizona, the home state of Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in the race against Obama. Napolitano previously served as U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Arizona; she was the first woman in both of those posts.
Napolitano’s selection was made pending vetting, sources said, and was first reported by CNN.
For Full Story

Former Pa. Judge Convicted of Fraud And Money Laundering

Some how all is not very right with the world when a judge lies about a fender bender to collect some doe.

Ex-Judge Michael Joyce/official photo

Ex-Judge Michael Joyce/official photo

Joe Mandak
The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH – A retired Pennsylvania appellate judge was convicted Wednesday of mail fraud and money laundering after prosecutors said he lied about neck and back injuries in a fender bender to collect $440,000 from two insurance companies.
Former Superior Court Judge Michael Joyce will be sentenced March 10 on two counts of mail fraud and six counts of money laundering.
“Michael Joyce made multiple false representations of debilitating injury following a 2001 automobile accident when the evidence showed he was engaging a variety of physical activities, including scuba diving, roller blading and piloting airplanes,” U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said. “The jury’s finding of guilt demonstrates that no person, even a judge, is above the law.”
For Full Story

Sheriff’s Deputy Acquitted in Asphyxiation Death During Traffic Stop

In this college town, in a controversial case filled with emotion, the judge took the unusual step of warning  that anyone who made a sound after the verdict was read would be taken into custody.

By Art Aisner
The Ann Arbor News
ANN ARBOR — A federal jury Wednesday acquitted Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Eberle of violating the civil rights of Clifton Lee, who died of asphyxiation in a struggle with police more than two years ago.
Eberle looked at the jury as the verdict was read, then lowered his head, turned to his wife and held her as she cried.
“I just always had faith that the jury would come back with a not-guilty verdict and that’s what they did,” Eberle said after leaving the courtroom.
Members of Lee’s family denounced the verdict as they left the court.
“This is a miscarriage of justice, but we have to abide by the ruling of the jury as sad as it is,” said Douglas Barden Sr., Lee’s uncle.
The verdict came after about 12 hours of deliberations over three days.
The judge had warned that anyone who made a sound after the verdict was read would be taken into custody, so there was no audible reaction in the packed courtroom.
Lee died during a struggle with sheriff’s deputies in the West Willow neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township on June 1, 2006. Lee was charged with violating Lee’s civil rights by using excessive force while restraining him on a street during a traffic stop.
For Full Story

Update on Slain FBI Agent in Penn.

FBI Agent Shot and Killed In Penn. While Serving Arrest Warrant

FBI Agent Samuel Hicks/fbi photo

FBI Agent Samuel Hicks/fbi photo

Suspect...../wtae-tv

Suspect Robert Korbe/wtae-tv

By Paula Reed Ward, Jim McKinnon and Michael A. Fuoco
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
INDIANA TOWNSHIP, Pa. — An FBI agent was shot and killed early this morning as he and at least one other officer were attempting to serve an arrest warrant in Indiana Township. He was identified today as Special Agent Samuel Hicks.
Earlier reports were erroneous that the victim was a local police officer.
FBI spokesman Bill Crowley said the agent who was killed was not alone as he attempted to serve the warrant around 6 a.m. at a home in the 100 block of Woods Run Road, near the Middle Road Volunteer Fire Department headquarters and a township park that contains several soccer fields.
Mr. Crowley said Agent Hicks was pronounced dead at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital.
Michael Rodriguez, agent in charge of the Pittsburgh FBI office, said Agent Hicks joined the FBI in March 2007 and was assigned to Pittsburgh in August 2007.
He said Agent Hicks, 33, who is survived by his wife, Brooke, and 3-year-old son, had been a Baltimore police officer and a school teacher before joining the FBI. He is a Western Pennsylvania native and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
For Full Story

Read FBI Press Release

One of New Jersey’s Most Powerful Politicians Convicted in Public Corruption Case

Maybe it just seems that way. But lately we’re seeing one crooked politician after another go down. Here is the latest. 

By Troy Graham
Philadelphia Inquirer
TRENTON – Former State Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, once one of the most powerful politicians in New Jersey, was convicted yesterday on 12 counts of selling his influence for personal gain.
In more than 25 years in public life, the Camden County Democrat rose to iconic status in Trenton and his home district, only to become the latest politician sullied by a corruption conviction.
Following the verdict, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie called Bryant’s conduct “the most reprehensible” and “disgusting” he had seen.
“Wayne Bryant is a disgrace, and [he] is now a federal felon headed for prison, which is where he belongs,” he said. “It is an absolute abomination that Wayne Bryant ever held a position of authority and prominence.”
For Full Story

ICE Agent Arrested on Crystal Meth Charges

Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A decorated Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent has been arrested here on drug trafficking charges, the Associated reported Wednesday.
Special Agent Kevin Merkel was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 29 on charges of possession and intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine, the Associated Press said in an article attributed to annoymous sources. The indictment remains sealed.
The news agency reported that Merkel is a veteran officer who won the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general were part of the probe, AP said.
Corrie Bassett,a spokeswoman for ICE, said Wednesday afternoon she would look into the matter.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Al qaeda Takes a Shot At Obama (CNN)

Why has Osama bin Laden Been Silent? (CNN)