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Tag: Detroit

Documentary on the Detroit Sleeper Cell that Wasn’t

Featured_sleeper__9636
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — It’s been about a decade since the “Detroit Sleeper Cell”  case imploded and ended up being a big embarrassment to the Justice Department and the FBI.

You might recall, shortly after Sept. 11, 2001,  four men were charged in Detroit with operating a sleeper cell that was plotting to pull off terrorist acts.  In 2003, two of the four men were convicted of terrorism charges.

But the defense learned that the government withheld information that might have helped their clients, and eventually in 2004 U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen vacated the terrorism convictions. Essentially, the judge concluded the case was nonsense.

The Retro Report, a documentary organization, has partnered with the New York Times, to produce an 11 minute, 45 second  documentary, “The Detroit Sleeper Cell.” The documentary was released Monday. 

The documentary takes a look back at the case and talks to some  key players, including former prosecutor Keith Corbett who assisted the lede prosecutor RIchard Convertino on the case.

“I think we overreacted in the post 9/11 world,” Corbett says in the documentary. “I think we were looking for the boogeyman under every bed. I think in hindsight a couple deep breaths would have server everybody better.”

Read Deadline Detroit’s Three Part Series: “Terrorism and the American Dream”

 

 

Another Former Detroit Public Official Is Accused of Stealing Millions from Taxpayers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the latest raid against public corruption in Detroit, the FBI descended on the home and business of a former Detroit Public Schools official, WXYZ reports.

The FBI said Carolyn Darden was the district’s director of grants when she helped herself to millions of tax dollars.

A federal affidavit accuses her and her husband of mishandling $6 million in grant money from “No Child Left Behind.”

Charges have not yet been filed.

FBI Names New Special Agent in Charge of Detroit Office

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Detroit’s FBI division has a new leader.

Paul M. Abbate, who has a background in counterterrorism, will replace Robert Foley, who announced plans to step down in August after a year on the job. The appointment was first reported by ticklethewire.com and Deadline Detroit.

Fox 2 reports that Abbate most recently was a special agent heading up the Counterterrorism Division in the Washington Field Office, where he supervised the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Abbate’s career began in 1996. Since then, he’s worked in Afghanistan, Iraq, New York, Los Angeles and New Jersey, Fox 2 reported.

 

Former Detroit U.S. Attorney Roy Hayes Dies at 73

Roy Hayes

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT –– Roy C. (Joe) Hayes was one of those U.S. Attorneys who took the job seriously, but seemed to enjoy what he did while keeping a pretty good sense of humor about him.

I got to know Joe when I was a reporter at the Detroit News covering the federal courthouse. He loved to schmooze and he seemed to be the kind of guy who got what he wanted. He died Thursday of pneumonia in Charlevoix at age 73, according to the Detroit Free Press.

In 1985, he became the U.S. Attorney in Detroit at age 44. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He came with some experience in that area. He had been with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office where he battled corruption, organized crime, violent crime and fraud.

As U.S. Attorney, his office prosecuted some high profile cases including the Chambers Brothers crack-cocaine gang, which dominated the city’s east side. Hayes himself was the co-prosecutor on the case, which I ended up covering for the News. His office also oversaw the massive investigation into corrupt judges in Detroit’s 36th District Court and Recorder’s Court.

Joe loved a good laugh and he used always kid me about the “Grey Rabbit,” a hippie bus I once took in college during winter break from Portland, Ore., to Indianapolis (I had to take a Greyhound on the final leg of the journey to Detroit.) I told him the amusing story about the Grey Rabbit, which included a passenger in front of me “borrowing” my tooth brush. I never used it again after it left my possession.

To read more click here.

Friend of Ex-Detroit Mayor Gets 21 Years

Bobby Ferguson at sentencing/Deadline Detroit sketch by Jerry Lemenu

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Painting him as a bully, extortionist and violent criminal who hid assets, a Detroit federal judge on Friday sentenced Bobby Ferguson, the city contractor and good buddy of ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, to 21 years.

“Bobby Ferguson was the catalyst at the center of an historic and unprecedented criminal scheme,” said U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds.

“Mr. Ferguson was bold and outspoken in his extortion activities,” she said.

Edmunds said Ferguson strong-armed companies to get city contracts, some in which he did no work for. He threatened to kill contracts with the help of Kilpatrick if people didn’t give him a cut of the action.

Along with sentencing, the government asked that Ferguson forfeit $6,284,000 in cash and some property.

The sentencing fell short of the 28 years Kilpatrick received Thursday. Kilpatrick was convicted of 24 counts compared to Ferguson’s 9. Kilpatrick’s status as an elected official influenced his sentence.

Ferguson sat looking at a bible, and sometimes turned to his attorneys and talking while Edmunds was building up to announcing the sentence.

To read more click here.

Former Detroit Mayor Gets 28 Years in Prison for Racketeering Scheme

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison for running a complex racketeering scheme out of city hall.

The sentence is one of the stiffest ever leveled against a corrupt politician.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said she wanted to send a clear message that corruption would not be tolerated.

Kilpatrick extorted bribes from contractors and steered at least $127 million in contracts to his friend and business partner, Bobby Ferguson, who is to be sentenced today.

Kilpatrick said he “really messed up” and was “extremely remorseful.”

FBI: Windy City Became Murder Capital of U.S. in 2012

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Chicago led the nation in the sheer number of murders last year with 500, eclipsing even New York, which has a much larger population.

The FBI statistics released this week show that New York City had 419 murders, followed by Detroit with 386 and Philadelphia with 331 last year.

But on a per-capita basis, Flint, Mi., led the nation, followed by Detroit.

Other cities with more than 200 murders include Los Angeles (299), Baltimore (219) and Houston (217).

Of the murders, 69% involved a gun.

 

D.C. Agent Paul Abbate to Head Up Detroit FBI Office

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Paul M. Abbate, a veteran FBI agent who has extensive experience in counterterrorism, has been named head of the Detroit FBI, Deadline Detroit has learned.

Abbate, replaces Robert Foley III, who recently transferred to Florida. John Shoup has been the acting head of the office in Detroit since Foley’s departure.

The FBI office in Detroit said Abbate will begin work here on Nov. 4.

Abbate, who has a law degree from the University of Connecticut, is currently the special agent in charge of counterterrorism at the Washington Field office.

He joined the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to New York where he worked white-collar crimes, and was a member of the SWAT Team.

To read more click here.