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Tag: Attorney General

Fed Judge Bothered that Justice Dept. Didn’t Appeal Death Penalty Ruling in NYPD Cop Killing Case

Judge Nicholas Garaufis/wikipedia

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Brooklyn fed judge is none too happy with the Justice Department and Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. in a case involving the murder of two New York police detectives,  the NY Daily News reported.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis “bristled” on Tuesday when expressing his displeasure that the Justice Department failed to  appeal to the Supreme Court a ruling by the Court of Appeals that tossed out the death penalty conviction phase for the convicted cop killer because of prosecutorial error, the Daily News reported.

The murder conviction still stands, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to retry the penalty phase to go after the death penalty again for convicted cop killer Ronell Wilson , the Daily News reported. The judge, bothered that the prosecutors simply didn’t appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, said he would not let the retrial for the penalty phase  go forward until he got a letter from Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. pledging the department’s intent to seek the death penalty, the Daily News reported.

The Daily News reported that the demand for the letter was the judge’s way of taking a shot at Holder   “in view of the fact that the attorney general failed to exhaust all appeals and abandoned the appeal of the case.”  The judge expressed concern about the emotional effects a second trial would have on the victims’ families.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has repeatedly said in the past that it is committed to retrying the death penalty phase of the case, the Daily News reported.

The attorney general must sign off when prosecutors seek the death penalty. The case was first prosecuted when  Roberto Gonzales was the attorney general.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, declined comment Wednesday morning. The Justice Department in Washington also declined comment.

NY Times Editorial: Cowardice Blocks 9/11 Trial in the Big Apple

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

By The New York Times
Editorial Page

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. described a federal court trial for the self-professed mastermind of Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as ”the defining event of my time as attorney general.” On Monday, Mr. Holder’s dream for demonstrating the power of the American court system crumbled when he announced that the trial would take place not in New York City or anywhere in the United States but before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp.

That retreat was a victory for Congressional pandering and an embarrassment for the Obama administration, which failed to stand up to it.

The wound inflicted on New York City from Mr. Mohammed’s plot nearly a decade ago will not heal for many lifetimes, yet the city, while still grieving, has thrived. How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.

But, apparently, there are many who continue to cower, who view terrorists as much more fearsome than homegrown American mass murderers and the American civilian jury system as too ”soft” to impose needed justice.

To read more click here.

ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark Visits Gaza Strip for “Solidarity Mission”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Attorney Gen. Ramsey Clark, who served on Saddam Hussein’s defense team, and has seldom shied away from controversy, was in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday for what the Associated Press described as a “solidarity mission.”

AP reported that on the first day of the three-day trip Clark met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, whose office later said they discussed Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the recent conflicts between Palestinians and Israel. Hamas is still listed in the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Clark was Attorney General from 1967 to 1969 under President Johnson.

Clark was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement and visited Hanoi in 1972 to protest the U.S. bombings there.

In 1991, he accused President George H.W. Bush and others in the administration of crimes against humanity for the Gulf War and the subsequent sanctions.

Maine Atty. Gen. Rules ATF Agents Justified in Killing Biker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four ATF agents who shot and killed a member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang last summer during a gun fight in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, won’t be charged criminally, the the Maine Attorney General has ruled.

In a report issued Tuesday, the Attorney General’s Office concluded  the killing of gang member Thomas Mayne, 38, was justified and in self defense. Agents had gone to his home on June 15 to arrest him.

Agents fired 20 rounds, and hit Mayne at least seven times. Mayne fired six rounds.

“The Attorney General has concluded that at the time that shots were fired at Mr. Mayne, it was reasonable for the four ATF agents who returned fire to believe that deadly force was being used against them,” the report concluded.

“In addition, the agents reasonably believed it was necessary to use deadly force to protect themselves from the use of deadly force against them. Because the agents used deadly force in self defense, no criminal action will ensue against the officers involved in this incident.

“This conclusion is based on an extensive scene investigation that was consistent in all significant respects with the interviews of over 40 individuals, the review of medical records, and other evidence.”

Mayne was one of 27 gang members indicted in federal court in Virginia on a host of charges including attempted murder.

To read the report click here.

FBI Releases List of Some of its Top Terrorism Cases in 2010

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The year 2010 was full of almost-disastrous terrorist acts  from the Times Square Bomber to the the Portland teen who tried to detonate a car bomb during a Christmas-lighting ceremony in Oregon, only to find out it was an FBI  sting.

Not everyone agreed with the FBI tactics when it came to  stings like the ones in Portland, Baltimore and the Washington area. Some accused the FBI of making terrorists out of lost souls looking for a mission. But Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. forcefully defended the FBI stings, saying they were legitimate investigative tools.

In a speech earlier this month in California, Holder specifically defended the FBI tactics in the Portland, Ore. case at the Christmas lighting ceremeony that led to the arrest of the teen Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

“Those who characterize the FBI’s activities in this case as ‘entrapment’ simply do not have their facts straight – or do not have a full understanding of the law,” he said.

“I make no apologies for the how the FBI agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Holder said, according to a text of the speech distributed by the Justice Department.

The FBI on Monday released a list of what it considers some ofr its most significant terrorism cases of 2010.

The following was included in a press release:

  • Attempted bombing of Armed Forces recruiting center: A 21-year-old U.S. citizen earlier this month parked what he thought was an explosives-filled vehicle in front of a military recruiting center near Baltimore and tried to detonate it remotely. The bomb was fake, thanks to our undercover agents working the case. Details
  • Attempted bombing in Oregon: A naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested the day after Thanksgiving when he attempted to set off what he thought was a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland. The 19-year-old had been the subject of a long-term undercover operation by the Bureau. Details

  • D.C. Metro bomb plot: In October, a 34-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen believed he was joining members of al Qaeda to plan multiple bombings of Metrorail stations in the Washington area. Instead, it was a sting. Farooque Ahmed researched peak rider periods so the attacks could cause mass casualties. Details
  • Al Shabaab indictments: In August—in Minnesota, Alabama, and California—two Americans were arrested and 12 others, including five U.S. citizens, were charged with terrorism offenses and providing material support to the Somali-based terrorist organization al Shabaab. Details
  • Northern Virginia man indicted: In July, 20-year-old Zachary Chesser—also known as Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee—told agents he twice attempted to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab as a foreign fighter. On one of those occasions he tried to board a plane with his infant son as part of his “cover.” Details
  • Al Qaeda plotters indicted: In July, five senior members of al Qaeda were indicted for their roles in the 2009 plot against the New York subway system. Details
  • Missouri man guilty of supporting al Qaeda: In May, a 32-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen pled guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and to bank fraud and money laundering. Details

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad

  • Attempted bombing at Times Square: After a three-day nationwide manhunt, a naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested in May for an attempted bombing at New York City’s famous tourist area. Details
  • Michigan militia group indicted: In March, nine members of a militia group called the Hutaree were charged with attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and related offenses. Details
  • Jihad Jane indicted: Also in March, U.S. citizen Colleen LaRose—also known as Jihad Jane—was indicted in Philadelphia for her role in recruiting jihadist fighters to commit murder overseas. A month later, a Colorado woman and colleague of LaRose’s was indicted on similar charges. Details

Rep. Peter King Urges Atty. Gen. Holder to Go After WikiLeaks; Holder Says There’s “Active, Ongoing Criminal Investigation”

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

Update: Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said the Justice Department will prosecute anyone found to have violated U.S. law in the leaks, the Associated Press reported.”To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law, who put at risk the assets and the people I have described, they will be held responsible; they will be held accountable,” Holder said at a news conference, according to the AP. He called the WikiLeaks probe “an active, ongoing criminal investigation.”
*****
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is urging Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to designate WikiLeaks as a “foreign terrorist organization”, saying it “posed a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States,” the New York Daily News reported.

The request came  as the White House condemned the leak, saying some who help the U.S. abroad could be harmed, the paper reported.

WikiLeaks published 250,000 diplomatic cables from classified projects, exposing back-channel communications, some embarrassing to the U.S., foreign nations and individuals.

The Daily News reported that the leaks included information that Saudi Arabia has urged the U.S. to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear program.

“Cut off the head of the snake,” the Saudi ambassador to Washington urged Gen. David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks Shines Light on Backdoor Diplomatic Channels (NY Times)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Office of Professional Responsibility Finds 2 Prosecutors and FBI Agent Engaged in Misconduct in Ted Stevens Case

Judge Emmet Sullivan/court photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A draft by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that two prosecutors and an FBI agent in the Sen. Ted Stevens case engaged in misconduct,the Associated Press reported.

AP, citing ” a lawyer familiar with the matter,” said the report found that prosecutors Joseph Bottini and James Goeke and FBI agent Mary Beth Kepner had engaged in misconduct.

The probe involving the prosecutors stemmed from allegations that they failed to share evidence that could have helped the defense. The allegations prompted Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to move for the 2008 public corruption conviction against Stevens to be vacated.

Steven died in a plan crash in August. Allegations about Kepner surfaced after an FBI whistle-blower said she had inappropriate relations with a key government witness, AP reported. Bottini’s lawyer, Ken Wainstein, a former U.S. Attorney, declined to comment, AP reported.

Ted Stevens

Meanwhile, AP reported that the same source said that an attorney, Henry Schuelke, who is running a separate investigation into the matter for the presiding Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, has not yet decided whether to recommend criminal prosecution against the prosecution team.

The AP report contradicts a report by NPR, which said Schuelke would not recommend criminal charges.