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Tag: Alabama

Feds Warn Alabama Law Enforcement Over Immigration Law

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Feds are pushing back on the state of Alabama.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division warned 156 local law enforcement agencies they could lose their federal funding if they fail to comply with federal civil rights laws while enforcing the state’s harsh immigration laws, according to Talking Points Memo.

“As you undertake law enforcement activity under H.B. 56, it is critical that your enforcement of this law does not result in the unlawful stopping, questioning, searching, detaining, or arresting of persons in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, or in the targeting of racial or ethnic minorities in a manner that violates the Fourteenth Amendment,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez wrote in a letter sent to reporters on Tuesday, according to Talking Points Memo.

Local law enforcement agencies are required to comply with certain federal non-discrimination requirements while receiving federal funding, Perez wrote; the feds are able end funding or bring a civil suit in federal court for noncompliance.

To read more click here.

State Rep. Accepts Lobbyist Cash, Pleads Guilty

Terry Spicer

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former state representative in Alabama  pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting cash, gifts and campaign money from a businessman and a lobbyist in exchange for political favors, the Justice Department said.

Terry Spicer,  46, who had been cooperating with the government long before 11 arrests were made in a  vote-buying investigation involving the the Alabama Legislature, admitted to accepting monthly cash payments from lobbyists, gifts of ski trips to Breckenridge, Colo.

Authorities said that from 2006 to 2010, Spicer accepted bribes from Jarrod Massey, a former lobbyist in Montgomery, Ala., and his client, businessman Ronnie Gilley.

Spicer admitted receiving cash, campaign services and a ski vacation from Massey in exchange for Spicer using his official position to obtain lobbying business for Massey.

Spicer also admitted that he accepted campaign contributions and entertainment concert tickets from businessman Gilley in return for Spicer’s official assistance in favor of Gilley’s business projects and interests, the Justice Department said.

Both Massey and Gilley have pleaded guilty to paying and offering bribes to Spicer and other legislators.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ala. Fed Prosecutors to Get 2nd Bite Out of Apple in Corruption Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Alabama will get a second bite out of the apple after their high-profile gambling corruption case imploded last week.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson set a retrial date of Oct. 3. However, he has not yet decided whether there will be more than one trial, the Associated Press reported.

A jury voted to acquit on 91 charges and deadlocked on 33 others. None of the nine defendants were convicted, and two were completely acquitted.

The nine defendants were accused of buying and selling votes on legislation that would legalize electronic bingo games in the state, AP reported.

AP reported that the Justice Department has asked the judge to split the seven remaining defendants into three groups for retrial. The defense attorneys want one combined trial.  The judge plans to address the issue on Wednesday.

Secret Service Investigating Counterfeit Money in Ala.

Ala. U.S. Atty. Leura Canary Steps Down on Friday

U.S. Atty. Leura Canary/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Leura G. Canary of Montgomery, Ala., who was appointed by President Bush in 2001, will step down on Friday, her office announced.

Canary has served with the Justice Department since October, 1990 when she was hired as a trial attorney. In November 1994,  she became an assistant U.S. Attorney  for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery. She later served as a civil chief.

On Sept. 4, 2001, she was appointed interim U.S. Attorney in Montgomery. She was later nominated by President Bush and confirmed on Nov. 6, 2001.

Canary’s office convicted former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, which triggered cries from Democrats that the prosecution was political.

President Obama has nominated George Beck Jr., a white-collar defense lawyer at Capell & Howard, to step in.

Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section Could Be Screwing Up Another Public Corruption Case in Ala.


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section which blew the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, may be screwing up a big public corruption case in Montgomery, Ala. Both cases involve allegations of withholding evidence from the defense.

The Associated Press reports that an angry U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. is fed up and said at a pretrial hearing on Friday that he may impose sanctions against the government for repeatedly failing to hand over all  the documents pertaining to FBI wiretaps in a gambling case involving alleged payoffs to politicians to pass legislation.

“This is supposed to be some elite group coming down from D.C., and how this case has been conducted is ridiculous,” the judge said at a pretrial hearing, according to AP. The trial is set for June 6.

The judge did not say what sanctions he might impose, but the defense is asking that the judge toss the case because the  government failed to share certain documents.

AP reported that Casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley, four present and former legislators, and four others are charged with buying and selling votes on legislation. The votes would have kept opened Gilley’s and McGregor’s shuttered electronic bingo casinos.

Prosecutor Steve Feaga said in court, according to AP: “In the course of this case, there have been some mistakes made by the government.”

But AP reported that Feaga said the mistakes were unintentional, such as handing over computer disc without the passwords to access data.

The government has conceded that it has made mistakes, but they weren’t intentional, AP said.

The Public Integrity Section convicted then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in Oct. 27, 2008 of public corruption charges shortly before his re-election. Stevens lost the election, but the Justice Department subsequently  moved to vacate conviction because its Office of Public Integrity failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

Ala. Fed Judge Threatens to Sanction Prosecutors for Withholding Documents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors aren’t scoring any points with a federal judge in a bingo vote-buying case in Montgomery, Ala.

The Birmingham News reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel  Jr. on Tuesday threatened to sanction fed prosecutors for failing to turn over documents relating to FBI wiretaps.  He ordered the government to turn over the files by the end of the business day on Tuesday. He scheduled a pretrial hearing on the matter for Thursday.

“This has gone past the point of mistake or anything else,” Capel said, according to the Birmingham News.

The defense teams says the government has been withholding material related to the wiretaps that could help their case. They claim that notes made regarding casino owners Milton McGregory and Ronnie Gilley could help them prove the wiretaps were done improperly.

Gilley, McGregor, two state senators, two lobbyists and two others are set to go to trial June 6 on charges they attempted to buy and sell votes for gambling bill before the Alabama state legislature, the Birmingham News reported.

“I think there are logs. I think there are emails among the agents,” defense attorney  Doug Jones, who represents Gilley, said, according to the paper. “Personally, it seems to me they are playing hide the ball. There is something there they don’t want us to see.”

The paper reported that fed prosecutors declined comment.  AP reported that one of the defense attorneys said that  the government had emailed some documents before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. It was unclear from the news report whether the fed prosecutors fully complied with the order.

13 States Ask Justice Dept. to Help Find Execution Drug


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — States around the country are turning to the Justice Department for help in locating an execution drug, the Associated Press reports.

AP reported that 13 states signed a letter sent to the Justice Department asking for help scoring sodium thiopental after the only U.S. manufacturer stopped producing it and the overseas supplies became scarce.

The states that signed the letter included: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Justice Department spokeswoman Alisa Finelli told AP that the agency is reviewing the letter.