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News Story

ICE Halts Deportations to Hard Hit Haiti

ICE decides it would be too cold to deport people back to Haiti following back-to-back storms.

By Georgia East and Luis Perez
Sun-Sentinel
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -Immigration and Customs Enforcement has temporarily halted deportations to Haiti, amid mounting pressure from some South Florida members of Congress and local activists.
Critics of the deportations have said it’s inhumane to send people to Haiti after the country has been devastated by back-to-back storms.
“We are aware of the situation on the ground, and based on that, there are no removals planned,” said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For Full Story

FBI Art Sleuth Calling It A Day

A Rembrandt Wittman helped recover

A Rembrandt Wittman helped recover

Robert K. Wittman didn’t surveil terrorists or chase bank robbers for the FBI. He chased down art thieves and helped recover more than a thousand pieces of work. Wittman worked undercover and still does not want to be photographed even though he’s retiring.

By Andrew Maykuth
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA – Robert K. Wittman, the renowned undercover art sleuth who retired yesterday after 20 years with the FBI, vividly remembers the first art theft he helped solve.
In November 1988, a few days before Wittman arrived in Philadelphia fresh from the FBI Academy, a robber stole a bronze sculpture from the Rodin Museum on the Parkway. Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose was considered Rodin’s first major work.
The thief, an unemployed dancer who Wittman said was “down on his luck,” wrapped the 12-inch bronze in brown paper and hid it beneath a hot-water heater at his mother’s house on Pine Street. That’s where investigators found it a few months later.
“That was the beginning and end of his art career,” said Wittman.
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Hitman Gives a Sopranos Like Performance

Mobster Whitey Bulger/fbi photo

Mobster Whitey Bulger/fbi photo

Testimony on Friday from hitman John Martorano was as riveting as a scene in the HBO hit The Sopranos.  Martorano calmly described a murder and said he might have killed mobster Whitey Bulger had he known Bulger had ties to the FBI. His testimony came in the murder trial of ex-FBI agent John Connolly.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
MIAMI — Confessed hitman John Martorano gave a jury a blow-by-blow description of a murder this afternoon during blistering cross-examination in the trial of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr.
“Can you show the jury where you shot him?” asked defense attorney Manuel Casabielle as he leaned toward the witness box.
For Full Story

Related Trial Story (Miami Herald)

Mayor’s Brother Sentenced In Shake Down

BOSTON — The brother of the Providence mayor was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison and immediately disbarred for what a federal judge described as “reprehensible and inexcusable” actions, the Providence Journal reported.

John M. Cicilline, along with his former law partner,  pleaded guilty to conspiring to shake down a drug-dealing couple and manipulating the criminal-justice system. He was ordered to pay $15,000 restitution to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the newspaper reported.  Cicilline is the brother of Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline.

Sen. Stevens A Little Tight With The Wallet?

The thing about wiretaps is that they often bring to light some of the most interesting tidbits. In this instance, two friends spoke about Sen. Ted Steven’s cheapness.

Sen. Stevens/official webpage

Sen. Stevens/official webpage

By Richard Mauel and Erika Bolstad
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON — Defense lawyers and prosecutors in Sen. Ted Stevens’ criminal disclosure case wrangled over the admissibility of a wiretapped conversation Thursday where two of Stevens’ friends spoke of his aversion to opening his own wallet.
“Ted gets hysterical when he has to spend his own money,” Alaska restaurateur Robert Persons told Bill Allen, the former chairman of oil field services company Veco Corp., in a conversation overheard by the FBI and quoted in court by a prosecutor.
For Full Story

Marshals Round Up 2,497 Fugitives In Florida

MIAMI – U.S. Marshals rounded up 2,497 “worst-of-the-worst” fugitives in Florida in a 10-week sweep  dubbed “Operation Orange”, authorities announced Thursday.
The arrests included 55 gang members and 255 sex offenders, federal authorities said.

Man Pleads Guilty in $119 Million HIV Scam

MIAMI – A Miami physician’s assistant pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the Medicare program in connection with a $119 million HIV infusian fraud case, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Thomas McKenizie, 53,  pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy to commit healtcare fraud and one count of submitting false claims, the government said. He admitted  that he trained physicians at 11 Miami medical clinics how to falsify medical records to provide unecesary HIV infusion services, authorities said. Ten others have already pleaded guilty in connection with the case.

IG Probing Justice Investigation Into Fatal Arson

The Inspector General is investigating allegations that federal authorities pressured witnesses to lie to the grand jury in a fatal arson.

Mike McGraw
The Kansas City Star
KANSAS CITY — The office of inspector general is investigating the Justice Department’s actions during its probe into the 1988 explosion deaths of six Kansas City firefighters.
U.S. Attorney John F. Wood requested the inquiry in July following stories in The Kansas City Star, which revealed that as many as 15 witnesses said a federal investigator pressured them to lie to a grand jury or later at the trial of five defendants charged in the arson case.
All five, who are serving life sentences, have long maintained their innocence.

For Full Story