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Tag: Chicago

Ex-Gov Blago Discussed Naming Oprah Winfrey for Obama’s Senate Seat

logo_oprah_betaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The entertainment factor in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich continues to be strong.

Tapes played Monday during his public corruption trial show Blagojevich tossed around some names to fill the Senate seat vacated by President Obama and mentioned Oprah Winfrey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

His chief of staff John Harris apparently didn’t see that as a reasonable idea, the paper reported.

In a secretly recorded conversation played in court, Harris told Blagojevich the idea sounded “crazy.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Blagojevich said.

“Oprah, by the way, is not far-fetched,” Blagojevich said. “She’s up there so high, no one can assail this pick.”

Later, in a wiretapped conversation, Blagojevich and Harris agreed it would be best to pick an African American, the Trib reported.

Blagojevich said it would be best to find a “black Albert Einstein or something.”

One thing that is likely beyond dispute: Blagojevich is no Albert Einstein.

Blagojevich is accused of using his office for personal benefit of trying to sell the seat vacated by President Obama.

He’s expected to testify on his own behalf.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich and Wife Speak Out as Jury Selection Begins in Chicago

 

President Obama Off the Hook for Now in Blagojevich Criminal Case

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Well Prez, you’re off the hook for now. Looks like you won’t be going to the Blagojevich circus.

A federal judge in Chicago on Friday refused to issue a subpoena for President Obama to testify in the trial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Associated Press reported.

Blagojevich, who faces a host of public corruption charges, including one that he tried to sell the president’s vacated Senate seat, wanted Obama to testify in his upcoming trial on June 3.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said Blago’s request fell “very short of authorizing a subpoena for the president”, AP reported. The judge indicated he could change his mind during trial if he determines the President has something relevant to tell jurors.

FBI Agents Search Home of Late Chicago Mobster Angelo “The Hook” LaPietra

Chicago U.S. Atty Office Wants Ex-Gov. Blago’s State Atty to Testify

Chicago
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago wants a federal judge to compel the testimony of an attorney who served as Rod Blagojevich’s general counsel while he was governor of Illinois.

At issue is the attorney-client privilege involving the attorney William J. Quinlan. Blagojevich and his brother Robert face trial on public corruption charges.

In a court filing Wednesday, the government argued that Blagojevich had waived any client-attorney privilege when he allowed government employees involved in the case to listen to secretly recorded conversations involving Quinlan and Blagojevich in the fall of 2008. The government also wants Quinlan to disclose any relevant documents.

Up until that point, tapes that might have been subject to attorney-client claims had been held at arms length from prosecutors and reviewed by a “filter team” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that had not been involved in the case, according to the court filing.

The government also argued that case law showed that a tax-paid state attorney should not be able to claim attorney-client privilege in a criminal case.

Read Govt. Motion

Does the Chicago-Mumbai, India Case Point Out Flaws in U.S. Intelligence Gathering?

india map2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Has the case of David Headley, the 49-year-old Chicago man accused of helping plot the 2008 Mumbai, India attacks, pointed out the holes in the United State’s intelligence gathering?

The New York Times reports that Headley “moved effortlessly between the United States, Pakistan and India for nearly seven years, training at a militant camp in Pakistan on five occasions, according to a plea agreement released by the Justice Department last week.”

Headley admitted to scouting targets and pleaded guilty.

“These and other new details of Mr. Headley’s activities, contained in the plea agreement, raise troubling questions about how an American citizen could travel for so long undetected from his home base in Chicago to well-established terrorist training camps in Pakistan,” the Times wrote.

For Full story click here.

FBI Agents Find Secret Recordings in Chicago Mobster’s Suburban Home

Frank Calabrese Sr.

Frank Calabrese Sr.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI apparently wasn’t the only one recording mob conversations.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that FBI agents this week raided the suburban home of imprisoned legendary Chicago mob hitman Frank Calabrese Sr. and found 10 to 15 secret recordings he had made between himself and other gangsters.

The paper reported that agents unearthed the tapes from a secret compartment behind a family portrait in the Calabrese family basement in Oak Brook, an upscale Chicago suburb. Calabrese, who is serving a life sentence for mob activities, has been in prison since the late 1990s on various offenses.

The paper reported that agents also found more than $1 million in cash and jewelry “including stacks of $1,000 bills not printed since the 1940s, and seven loaded handguns that were free of prints and wrapped in towels or clothes, according to court documents released Wednesday.”

The paper reported that one tape appears to be of Ronald Jarrett, a burglar and mob killer and Calabrese Sr.’s closest friend. Jarrett was shot to death in 1999 in what remains an unsolved murder.

The Sun-Times reported that  Calabrese Sr.’s attorney, Joseph “The Shark” Lopez, downplayed the significance of the tapes.

“For all we know, it’s Frank Sinatra singing,” Lopez said, according to the paper.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Probe Into Destroyed CIA Tapes Winding Down (Washington Post)
Rep. Markey Asks for Police Patrols for Colo. Home (AP)
Expert Says Scouts Put Boys at Risk of Sexual Abuse (AP)
CIA Brought Birthday Cake for Suicide Bomber Who Killed 7 in Afghanistan (AP)
FBI Making Virtual Reality Prison Out of Bagram Prison (Politico)

Feds Plan to Call 3 Appeals Court Judges as Witnesses in Retrial of Right Wing Radio Personality

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

Hal Turner/msnbc photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The retrial next week in Brooklyn of right wing web radio talk show host Hal Turner should get interesting.

The National Journal reports that federal prosecutors plan this time to call as witnesses three Court of Appeals judges from the 7th Circuit in Chicago who were the targets of Turner’s venemous verbal attacks on the Internet. The first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

The Journal reports the three judges expected to testify include Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Bauer, a former U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Authorities chargd Turner after he he posted Internet messages saying the judges “deserve to be killed” for upholding a Chicago handgun ban.

To read more click here.