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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Becomes Sixth Republic Governor Under Scrutiny by Investigators

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republican governors have been under heat recently, and the latest is Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

The FBI is investigating whether Brownback confidantes were running an influence-peddling operation over getting people personal access to the governor, MSNBC reports.

He’s far from the only Republican governor receiving scrutiny.

According to MSNBC:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), for example, is at the center of a series of scandals, while former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is facing corruption charges. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has faced some uncomfortable questions recently; Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has found himself at the center of an investigation into his handling of a district attorney’s drunken driving arrest; and subpoenas have already been issued in an investigation involving North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) administration.

The Kansas inquiry is focusing on Parallel Strategies, a lobbying firm created by three former Brownback employees who left public service for the private sector.

Public Face of Anonymous Pleads Guilty in Case That Could Land Him in Prison for 8.5 Years

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Barrett Lancaster Brown became the public face for Anonymous, a hacking collective that has wrecked havoc on computers nationwide.

Now the spokesman-like figure faces up to eight-and-half years in prison for public posts he made on YouTube and Twitter targeting FBI Agent Robert Smith because authorities were threatening to go after his mom for obstruction of justice charges on accusations that she tried to hide one of Brown’s computer’s, CNET reports.

“Robert Smith’s life is over,” Brown said in a YouTube video. “When I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life…”

On Tuesday, Brown, 32, pleaded guilty to federal charges of making Internet threats, obstructing a search warrant and being an accessory to unauthorized access of a protected computer.

Brown’s attorneys Jay Leiderman told CNET Brown was protected by his first-amendment rights.

“It looks like he may have a very strong First Amendment defense to this,” Leiderman said. “Barrett engages in a lot of hyperbole, a lot of saber rattling, and he often speaks off the cuff and says sometimes things I don’t really think he means. Without having talked to him it’s hard for me to conceive of this as really a threat, as opposed to posturing, puffery.”

Questions Raised About Lethal Injections After Botched Execution in Oklahoma on Tuesday

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The deadly cocktails administered during executions are about to come under fire after a botched lethal injection involving Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett on Tuesday.

Newsweek reports that a doctor stopped administering the lethal injection about 13 minutes into the procedure after Locket lifted his head and began mumbling.

About 40 minutes after the lethal cocktail was administered, Lockett died of an apparent massive heart attack.

“We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren’t working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt to the execution,” Massie said.

Authorities are bracing for serious questions about the viability and humaneness of lethal injections.

Washington State Man Wanted to Blow Up Wal-Mart, Gas Stations to Distract from Bank Robberies

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A recently released inmate planned to blow up a Wal-Mart and several gas stations to distract from plans he had of robbing banks in Washington state.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that suspect Larry Gillette, who was arrested Monday, is accused of revealing his plans to an undercover FBI agent, saying he wanted “carnage.”

During the sting, the 53-year-old tried to acquire four pistols and a bomb from the undercover agent in hopes of using them in Shelton.

“Gillette stated he wanted the targeted Walmart leveled, and intentionally wanted the explosives placed in areas which would prompt secondary explosions causing more damage,” an FBI agent said in court papers, recounting conversations between Gillette and the undercover police officers.

Chicago Bank Robber Handed More Than Cash, Helping Lead to His Arrest

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Chicago bank teller who was getting robbed gave up more than $1,700.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the bank employee also handed the robber a global-positioning system that helped the FBI and local police track him down.

The GPS device activated as soon as the robber left the bank, alerting authorities to the suspect’s every move.

When police tracked down 32-year-old Nathan A. Reed, they found $1,660 in cash, wrapped in a bank money band, and the GPS tracker.

He’s scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former FBI agent, Rep. Michael Grimm, faces federal charges, surrenders to FBI in New York

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, was indicted Monday on 20 counts of fraud and other charges in connection to a Manhattan restaurant he owned, Fox News reports.

The Republican from New York evading the IRS and hiding more than $1 million in profits to avoid paying taxes.

Grimm, who was released on a $400,000 bond, pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn federal court following his arrest earlier in the day.

“Michael Grimm made the choice to go from upholding the law to breaking it,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said at a press conference detailing the charges. “And in doing so, he turned his back on every oath he had ever taken.”

Grimm responded that he’s the victim of a “political witch hunt.”

“We’re going to fight tooth and nail until I am fully exonerated,” Grimm said outside the courthouse, flanked by his attorneys.
Grimm was previously an FBI special agent and Marine Corps combat veteran.

The indictment accuses him of mail and wire fraud charges and filing false federal tax returns. According to the indictment, he tried to hide the sales at his Upper East Side restaurant, Healthalicious, which he operated from 2007 to 2010.

Man Who Impersonated DEA Agent to Impress at Nightclubs Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Benjamin William Mejias seemed to tell anyone who would listen that he was a DEA agent.

He even posted photos of himself on Facebook wearing a DEA insignia and carrying guns and was so brazen that he repeated his story to an Orlando cop while wearing a DEA uniform, a badge and pistol.

On Monday, he was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for what a judge called “stupid” behavior, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

His defense attorney, Mike LaFay, said Mejias did it to impress his wife and others at Orlando nightclubs.
Meijas apologized Monday: “I’m very shameful.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

New FBI Agents Will Be Required to Visit Martin Luther King Memorial

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New FBI agents are already required to tour the Holocaust Museum.

FBI Director James Comey is adding another required visit in Washington D.C. – the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the USA Today reports.

“I think it will serve as a different kind of reminder — one more personal to the bureau — of the need for fidelity to the rule of law and the dangers in becoming untethered to oversight and accountability,” Comey said.

The move marks quite a departure from the bureau’s attitude toward King prior to his 1968 assassination.

The FBI conducted secret surveillance of the civil rights figure in an effort to discredit him.

The requirement to visit the Holocaust Museum has been in place since the late 1990s.

Comey said the MLK memorial tour will remind agents that “we will be judged not only on whether we succeed in defeating crime and terrorism, (but) on whether we do so while safeguarding the liberties for which we are fighting.”