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Tag: Corruption

Surprise: Ex-Gov. Blago May Not Testify After All in Fed Trial

Ex-Gov Blagojevich

Ex-Gov Blagojevich

UPDATE: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich did not testify in court this morning, as his defense team rested without calling a witness. Closing arguments are scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

“It is my decision, judge,” Blagojevich said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I made the decision freely.” Before the trial, the ex-governor maintained he would testify on his own behalf, a claim he reiterated as recently as Monday.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyers for Rod Blagojevich may ask the ex-Illinois governor to do what he’s least good at: Keeping his big yap shut.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that defense attorneys told U.S. District Judge James Zagel Tuesday afternoon that they planned to rest their case without presenting a witness, including Blagojevich, who had been expected to take the stand.

The paper reported that the judge, in a private conference, told lawyers to think about it overnight.

The Sun-Times reported that the father and son defense lawyer team — Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. — said they disagree over whether the ex-gov should testify.

The father thought he shouldn’t because the government failed to prove its case, the paper reported. The son said he should since he promised jurors in his opening statement that Blagojevich would testify.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

It’s Show Time! Blagojevich Expected to Take Stand This Week in Fed Corruption Trial

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With Fed Indictments & Justice Dept. Intervention: Scandal-Plagued New Orleans Police Dept. at Crossroads

new-orleans-map-istock
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In New Orleans, a town known for its jambalaya, jazz and hospitality, it hasn’t been difficult over the years to find folks willing to serve up some harsh words about their often-maligned and scandal-plagued police department.

That may change — even with the latest federal indictments for the shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

The Big Easy has a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu. The Justice Department — at his request — has stepped in to examine signs of systemic police misconduct. And a new police chief, Ronal Serpas, has been installed.

The department is at a crossroads. And the nation is watching a department in need of an extreme makeover.

Just this week, Americans got a glimpse of the department’s travails: The Justice Department announced the indictment of six New Orleans cops in the post-Katrina shootings of six unarmed people on Danziger Bridge, two of whom died. The charges come on top of decades of scandal: cops busted for drug trafficking, bribes, rape and murder.

To read full story click here

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Visits Afghanistan to Talk About Corruption

eric holder-msnbcBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney Gen. Eric Holder came to Afghanistan on Wednesday to talk to officials about the justice system and public corruption, which seems to be running rampant, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Holder’s visit comes in wake of Afghan’s top prosecutor’s denial that he was being pressured to look the other way when it came to pursuing cases against high ranking officials.

“Fighting corruption and supporting the rule of law in Afghanistan are top priorities for this administration, and we will continue to assist the Afghan government in creating and sustaining the effective criminal justice system to which the Afghan people are entitled,” Holder said in a statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, AP reported.

To read more click here.

Feds Indict Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 19 Counts

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It was anticipated for many months, and on Wednesday federal prosecutors indicted imprisoned ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on 19-criminal counts stemming from his scheme to use the nonprofit Kilpatrick Civic Fund for personal benefit and campaign expenses.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Kilpatrick, who is serving prison time for state probation violation, devised a scheme starting in 1999 to bilk the fund that was used to pay friends and relatives and cash kickbacks for himself. It also covered expenses ranging from countersurveillance and anti-bugging equipment to yoga and golf lessons, golf clubs and summer camp for his children.

In all, his unreported income amounted to $640,000 between between 2003 and 2008, authorities said.

The indictment was another embarrassment for an impoverished city trying to reinvent itself while struggling to provide the basic services for its citizens. Kilpatrick, once a young, promising political figure dubbed the “Hip Hop Mayor”, quickly fell from the top of the political heap after he got caught lying in a whistleblower case involving the police department.

“It is important that public officials not escape prosecution just because they leave office,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in the statement announcing the indictment. “Public officials need to be accountable to deter them and others from cheating our citizens in the future.”

Detroit FBI Chief Andrew Arena said in a statement that the charges are part of a continuing investigation into “the corruption that has long plagued the City of Detroit.

Read Detroit Free Press Story

Bound to Happen: Fed Prosecutors Ask Judge to Gag Blago and His Attorneys

BlagoBookBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Who didn’t figure this was coming?

The Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to impose a gag order to shut up ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers during the ongoing public corruption trial, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors claim the defense and Blago are trying to sway the jury.

The prosecution filed a 16-page motion Wednesday after Blagojevich and his attorneys made comments to reporters Tuesday at the end of testimony by government witness Alonzo “Lon” Monk, Blagojevich’s former friend and chief of staff, the Tribune reported.

The Tribune said the motion stated that lawyers and Blago made comments “to the press, on camera, giving their takes on Monk’s testimony, and in particular, his credibility, in what essentially amounted to mini-closing arguments on the topic.”

Prosecutors alleged that Blagojevich has conducted endless pre-trial media interviews and hired a public relations firm to sway the jury, the Trib reported.

“Blagojevich used these platforms to try his case in the public realm, often going beyond declaring innocence and instead representing pretrial developments in the court case and making inflammatory comments regarding the prosecutors,” the government wrote in the filing, according to the Tribune.

The prosecution indicated that Blagojevich’s comments after Monk’s testimony were the final straw and that the ex-governor’s alleged efforts to manipulate media coverage and influence the jury “has reached a level that requires court intervention.”

To Read More click.

Read Govt. Motion

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

 

New Head of Newark FBI Michael Ward Knows Corruption Will be a Priority

Michael Ward/fbi photo

Michael Ward/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Michael Ward, the new head of the FBI’s Newarks office, is getting his feet wet, getting to know his agents, quickly learning what clearly will be a big priority, the Newark Star-Legder reports.

“After my first couple of briefings, I think I can safely say that corruption is an issue in New Jersey,” Ward told the Star-Ledger.

The straightforward agent, who came from FBI headquarters, has made multiple stops in his 22 year career with the FBI. The Star-Ledger features Ward in a Sunday story. To read the story click here.