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Tag: Detroit

Feds Add International Terrorism Charge Against Underwear Bomber

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds have added a new international terrorism charge in a superseding indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the Christmas Day “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Under the amended indictment, Abdulmutallab is now charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. That charge comes on top of previous ones including allegations that he used a weapon of mass destruction.

The new charge alleges that he conspired with others and he went to “Yemen for the purpose of becoming involved in violent “jihad” on behalf of al Qaeda.”

“In preparation for a suicide attack, defendant Abdulmutallab practiced detonating explosive devices similar to one which he later received for an attack on a U.S. airliner,” the indictment said.

Several weeks ago, he fired his court-appointed attorneys and told the judge he wanted to represent himself.

Law enforcement sources said it’s unlikely he’ll get any break in sentencing by pleading guilty considering that he was caught in the act as a number of witnesses looked on.

Ex-Detroit Mayor Hammered Again: Indicted on Public Corruption Charges with Father and Others

Ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing an avalanche of legal trouble, was hammered again on Wednesday when a federal grand jury in Detroit  indicted him, his father, a city contractor and former aides on public corruption charges centering on government contracts and kickbacks.

In announcing the 38-count  indictment at a televised afternoon press conference, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Kilpatrick used  “his public office as a corrupt organization.”  Authorities said the probe was ongoing for six-years.

Kilpatrick, 40,  once dubbed the “hip hop mayor”,   is currently in prison, serving time for failing to pay $1 million in restitution after he pleaded in 2008 to obstruction of justice charges for  lying  about an affair with his chief of staff and about the discharge of a police official while  under oath during a whistle-blower lawsuit. The lies were revealed in Kilpatrick’s text messages the Detroit Free Press published.

He was sentenced in May to 18 months to 5 years in prison for violating his probation.

A month later, he was indicted by a federal grand jury on 19 federal counts including mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and filing a false tax return. He was Detroit mayor from 2002 to 2008.

Others indicted Wednesday  included Kilpatrick’s father Bernard Kilpatrick, city contractor Bobby Ferguson, former top Kilpatrick aide Derrick Miller and former water department chief Victor Mercado.

The indictment alleged that the defendants extorted money from municipal contracts and were knee-deep in bribery.

Authorities alleged that city contractor Ferguson kicked back at least $424,000 in cash and other items of value to Mayor Kilpatrick, and that the mayor used more than $590,000 of ill-gotten cash from the conspiracy to pay off credit card bills, buy clothes and pay off loans.

Kilpatrick’s father, Bernard Kilpatrick, who had long been under federal investigation, allegedly put $600,000 in cash into his bank accounts and was charged with filing  false tax returns.

U.S. Attorney McQuade, addressing criticisms that her office is piling on charges, said the new charges were far more significant than the ones Kilpatrick has faced in the past two years.  Plus, she said she wanted to send a message to politicians that leaving office doesn’t get you off the hook.

Explosive Packages Were 4 Times More Powerful than Underwear Bomb

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The explosives used in the packages from Yemen were four times more powerful than those used by the underwear bomber, the Associated Press reports.

Citing German authorities, AP reported that the two bombs contained 300 and 400 grams of the industrial explosive PETN, compared to about 80 grams used in the Nigerian man who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane last Christmas by detonating a bomb in his underwear.

AP reported that authorities suspect the bomb maker is Ibrahim al-Asiri, the master bomb maker for the Yemen-based group, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“It shows that they are trying to again make different types of adaptations based on what we have put in place,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser said, according to AP. “So the underwear bomber, as well as these packages, are showing sort of new techniques on their part. They are very innovative and creative.”

FBI Agents Who Fatally Shot Detroit Imam Weren’t Interviewed Until More than 6 Months Later

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Detroit Free Press reports some puzzling matters surrounding the death of Detroit imam  Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by four FBI agents during a raid in a suburban warehouse in Dearborn in October 2009.

The paper reports that the four FBI agents were not interviewed by investigators until more than six months later, in May and June, and that the FBI files “contain letters that show their attorney initially declining to let them be interviewed by Dearborn police. The FBI agent who fired eight shots at Abdullah was interviewed in June from Baghdad, Iraq.”

All the agents were cleared of wrongdoing in multiple investigations on the shooting, which stemmed from a raid involving a probe into stolen goods.

The paper also reported that Dearborn police, which investigated the shooting, “expressed concern about their inability at times to get evidence for their investigation of the fatal shooting, according to the records.

“Shortly after the shooting, the FBI removed the hard drives of surveillance video footage it made of the shootings with five covert cameras placed in the warehouse. Dearborn police ‘objected to removal of the hard drives,’ an FBI report said, but the FBI then later provided the department with copies for its investigation, which cleared the FBI of any wrongdoing.”

To read more click here.

Mi Man Who Impersonated FBI Agent Gets 3 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 57-year-old Michigan man has been hit with a three year prison term for impersonating an FBI agent, the Daily Tribune reported.

The paper reported that U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit sentenced Kevin Balfour of Warren, Mi, a Detroit suburb, earlier this month.

The paper reported the man impersonated an FBI agent and said he was collecting money for Haiti, where he might be deployed. He said the money was for the children.

He reportedly also used his FBI credentials to get free food and drinks from a local bar, and last Christmas Day questioned passengers who were on the plane where the “Underwear Bomber” tried to ignite explosive, the paper reported.

The paper reported that FBI agents searched his home and seized 16 guns, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, FBI badge and two Chicago police badges.

Religious Leaders and Son Denounce Justice Dept. Report on FBI Shooting of Detroit Imam

detroit mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A group of religious and civil rights leaders isn’t buying the Justice Department’s report this week that the FBI acted properly when it shot and killed Detroit Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah last October during a raid on a suburban warehouse, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The paper reported that Christian, Muslim and African American leaders gathered at a press conference Thursday at the Muslim Center in Detroit and said the Justice Department report was incomplete and failed to examine the use of undercover informants in Islamic communities.

“I had high hopes” for the report, said Omar Regan, son of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, according to the Free Press. “We’re disappointed.”

The paper said the FBI in Detroit and the Justice Department declined comment.

Luqman was shot and killed by FBI agents after he opened fire and shot and killed an FBI dog, authorities said.

To read more click here.

Underwear Bomber to Appear in Fed Court in Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

UPDATE,  Thurs. 2:30 p.m. — Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab made a brief appearance Thursday and said he was happy representing himself, and didn’t think it was necessary for the prosecutors to share evidence with his stand-by counsel, the Detroit News reported. The judge said she was overriding him on the sharing of evidence. A pretrial conference was set for Jan. 12.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Nigerian “Underwear Bomber” is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a pretrial hearing — minus his defense team from the Federal Defenders Office that he fired.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will represent himself but will have his standby counsel, Anthony Chambers, in case he needs legal advice. Chambers is a former federal defender who is in private practice.

Abdulmutallab indicated recently he might be willing to plead guilty to some charges. He was arrested after trying to blow up a Detroit bound plane on Christmas day with explosives in his underwear.

Justice Dept. Clears FBI in Fatally Shooting of Detroit Imam

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that the FBI agents who shot and killed Detroit imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah last October during a raid did not violate federal civil rights laws and did not “warrant further federal criminal investigation.”

The announcement came nearly two weeks after the Michigan Attorney General concluded the FBI violated no state laws when it fatally shot a  the Detroit mosque leader during a raid of a suburban warehouse.

A Justice Department press release issued Wednesday said “the department conducted a complete, thorough, and independent review of this matter. The review included examining all documents witness accounts, forensic evidence and reports, and operational plans and procedures that were generated by an FBI Inspection Division inquiry, a Dearborn Police Department investigation, and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office.”

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