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Retired Professor Wants to Unseal Hoffa Grand Jury Material to Prove His Theory That Robert Kennedy Used Illegal Wiretaps

The mystery as to where Jimmy Hoffa was buried, and the mystery as to what really happened to him, remains more than 30 years after he disappeared from a suburban Detroit restaurant parking lot. Now a retired law professor wants to add to the mystique by trying to unseal grand jury records in Hoffa’s jury tampering case.

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa

 

By BILL POOVEY
Associated Press Writer
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The government’s hard-won conviction of Jimmy Hoffa on jury-tampering charges is under assault 45 years later.

A retired law professor has persuaded a federal judge to consider unsealing secret grand jury records to set the historical record straight. William L. Tabac wants to prove his theory that the Justice Department – then led by Hoffa’s nemesis, Robert Kennedy – used illegal wiretaps and improper testimony to indict the Teamsters leader.

“I think there is prosecutorial misconduct in the case, which included the prosecutors who prosecuted it and the top investigator for the Kennedy Department of Justice,” Tabac said.

James Neal, the special prosecutor who convicted Hoffa in 1964 in Chattanooga, calls the claim “baloney.”

 For Full Story

Mexican Cartels Using YouTube and Internet

youtube1It was inevitable that the crude and violent Mexican drug cartels would evolve and start using some of the modern technology of the Internet to promote their trade. This is just the start.

By Rick Jervis
USA TODAY

The violence among Mexican drug cartels is not filling just the streets of Mexican border towns: It’s also spilling into gruesome online videos and chat rooms.

The videos on YouTube and Mexican-based sites are polished – professional singers croon about cartel leaders while images of murdered victims fade one into the next. In the comment area, those loyal to the opposing cartels trade insults and threats.

Such videos are used to intimidate enemies and recruit members by touting “virtues” of cartel leaders, says Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence for Stratfor, a Texas-based global-intelligence company.

Howard Campbell, an anthropologist at the University of Texas-El Paso who studies border issues, says the videos also signal how the cartels have evolved from pure moneymaking ventures to sophisticated groups with political agendas.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Miami Judge Blasts Fed Prosecutors and Fines Gov $601,795

For the second time in recent months a federal judge has lashed out at federal prosecutors and accused them improper conduct. In Washington, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan not only just dismissed the conviction of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, but ordered an independent attorney to probe the misconduct of the government. Now in Miami, a judge has taken offense to the government’s conduct and fined the government big timemiami-map.

BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Accusing federal prosecutors of knowingly and repeatedly violating ethical guidelines in a high-profile narcotics trial, a Miami federal judge Thursday reprimanded multiple assistant U.S. attorneys who took part in the case — and fined the federal government more than $600,000.

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold’s harshly critical 50-page order takes the federal government to task for acting deceptively and ”in bad faith” in the case of Miami Beach doctor Ali Shaygan, who was acquitted last month of 141 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers.

The $601,795 fine will be paid to Shaygan as reimbursement for much of his legal fees and costs. Gold formally reprimanded prosecutors Sean Cronin, Karen Gilbert and Andrea Hoffman and said he would send a copy of the order to the Florida Bar for its review.

While prosecuting Shaygan, the U.S. attorney’s office began a secret, undisclosed side investigation of Shaygan’s legal team, citing a suspicion of witness tampering on the part of the defense.

For Full Story

FBI Hostage Negotiating Team Brings Experience to Pirate Situation

Perhaps it’s a testament to its reputation that the FBI hostage negotiation team has been called in to help with the pirate hijacking on the high-seas. The unit has been involved in a lot of high profile situations and this is the latest.
By Rebecca Cole
Chicago Tribune
WASHINGTON fbi-logo — The FBI, brought in to help negotiate with the Somali pirates holding an American freighter captain, is no stranger to overseas hostage crises.

Since 1990, its Crisis Negotiation Unit has worked on more than 100 foreign hostage situations in Iraq, the Gaza Strip, Haiti and elsewhere.

The unit, based in Quantico, Va., routinely deploys negotiators to assist in kidnapping and other incidents involving U.S. citizens. Called the negotiating arm of the U.S. government, the FBI has about 340 crisis negotiators in 56 field offices.

FBI spokesman Bill Carter confirmed that the agency is assisting Navy personnel in negotiations with the pirates but would not comment on specifics. Among the cases on which the FBI has worked is the kidnapping of Jill Carroll, the American freelance journalist who was held for 82 days in Baghdad in 2006.

Judge in Ted Stevens Case No Shrinking Violet

Judge Emmet Sullivan has never been shy about voicing his opinion on the bench and during the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, he showed just how tough he could be, chastising the government.  He may have dismissed the conviction in the Stevens case, but he’s not done going after the government in that case.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan/court photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was irate when he accused the Justice Department of “hiding the ball” after its lawyers did not produce a document that undercut a key witness.

“Unfortunately, I can’t trust the government,” he said, adding that “someone’s going to pay a price.”

It was the first of two tirades in a week that the judge let loose on government lawyers over their handling of evidence.

First, he rebuked them in a case challenging the detention of a man at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The second scolding came during a packed hearing Tuesday, before he dismissed the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges.

The harangues captured the vintage Sullivan, who has spent more than 20 years on the bench, recently presiding over a series of high-profile cases and building a reputation as a formidable, if unpredictable, presence in the courtroom.

For Full Story

FBI Hostage Negotiators Join in Piracy Caper on the High-Seas

horn_of_africaThe FBI has entered the picture, hoping to solve this latest chapter in what has been a mind-boggling pattern of craziness on the high- seas. Nations around the world have to figure out a way to put a stop to this madness.

WASHINGTON (AP) – FBI hostage negotiators joined U.S. Navy efforts Thursday to free an American cargo ship captain held captive on a lifeboat by Somali pirates. A U.S. destroyer and a spy plane kept a close watch in the high-seas standoff near the Horn of Africa.

The pirates tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama on Wednesday, but Capt. Richard Phillips thwarted their takeover by telling his crew of about 20 to lock themselves in a room, the crew told stateside relatives.

The crew later overpowered some of the pirates, but Phillips surrendered himself to the bandits to safeguard his crew, and at least four of them fled with him to an enclosed lifeboat, the relatives said. It was the first such attack on American sailors in about 200 years.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Career Prosecutor Mary Patrice Brown to Head Justice Dept. Office of Professional Responsibility

us-capitolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — As part of a shake up in the Justice Department, career prosecutor Mary Patrice Brown will head up the Office of Professional Responsibilty, an internal unit first established in 1975 following the Watergate scandal to police ethical breaches.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. announced that Brown would serve as acting head on Wednesday at a time the Department is facing tough scruitiny and sharp criticism over the handling of the prosecution of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dropped the Stevens conviction on Tuesday at the request of the Justice Department, which conceded that the prosecution had acted improperly.

Brown, who has been with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. since 1989, became the chief of the office’s criminal division in 2007. Over the years that office has handled a number of high profile cases.

From 2004 to 2007, Brown was the Executvie Assistant U.S. Attorney for Operations, where she oversaw civil and criminal cases, according to a Justice Department press release.

From 2002 to 2004, she was deputy of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section.

“She’s got great judgment, unimpeachable integrity and a tremendous reputation around town,” Kenneth L. Wainstein, who worked with Brown as U.S. Attorney during the Bush years, told the Washington Post. “She understands the stresses and strains in litigation, but also understands the importance of following the rules.”

James Cooper, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in the D.C. office told the Washington Post that Brown “is a person of utmost integrity, and I think she will be very effective in that position.”

She replaces H. Marshall Jarrett, who will head the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, the Justice Department said.

Kenneth Melson Named Acting Chief of ATF

Kenneth Melson/fbi photo

Kenneth Melson/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Kenneth E. Melson, a federal prosecutor who headed the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys since 2007, has been named acting head of ATF.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. made the announcement Wednesday along with some other appointments including Mary Patrice Brown as acting head of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Prior to heading the Executive Office for U.S. Attorney, Melson was the first assistant for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va.

On different occasions, betwtween 1991 and 2001, Melson served as acting and interim U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria office, the Justice Department said.

Melson started his federal career in 1983 as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Alexandria.

“Ken’s more than 25 years of career federal prosecutor service and his knowledge in forensic science will make him a valuable asset,” Holder said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that he will provide his talents to such an important Department of Justice agency.”