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Tag: indictment

Chris Wallace Asks Blago: “Is There Anything You Won’t Do For a Buck These Days?” & Blago Predicts Political Comeback

Lobbyist Indictment Reminder of the Ugly Side of Washington

Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It was TV mobster Tony Soprano who once muttered: “‘I dunno about morals, but I do got rules.’

Certainly the same could be said for some of the politicians and lobbyists on the Capitol Hill, who never seem to let us down when it comes to perpetuating the unsavory stereotypes of official Washington.

The latest reminder of all of this came Thursday when the feds in Alexandria, Va., indicted Paul J. Magliocchetti, a powerful ex-lobbyist, who is accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in “laundered campaign contributions to lawmakers, using straw donors and other illicit means to disguise the source of the money,” the New York Times reported. He ran the now defunct PMA Group.

The Times said the indictment of Magliocchetti, a protege of the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), could open the door for the ex-lobbyist to provide evidence against crooked members of Congress.

Could this be the makings of another Jack Abramoff scandal?

3 New Orleans Cops Plead Not Guilty in Post-Katrina Shootings on Danziger Bridge

eBay Deal: A Doughnut Shop Owner, Tusks and a Fed Indictment

u.s. fish and wildlife service photo

African elephant/u.s. fish and wildlife service photo

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere.com (A New AOL news site)

There are plenty of legal things to buy on eBay, but elephant ivory isn’t one of them.

Federal authorities in Los Angeles on Tuesday indicted a Thai national charged with trafficking in ivory from endangered African elephants, and a California doughnut shop owner who allegedly bought them on eBay. A whole elephant tusk, which can range from 3 to 6 feet in length, can go for up to $10,000 on the black market.

The U.S. forbids, with rare exceptions, the importation of ivory from African elephants, which are on the endangered species list, authorities said. Asian elephants are also on the endangered list.

The 11-count indictment charged Samart Chokchoyma of Bangkok and Moun Chau of Montclair, Calif., with conspiring to import the illegal items. Authorities alleged that Chokchoyma obtained African elephant ivory in Thailand and that Chau allegedly bought the items on online auction site eBay.

For Full Story

The “Blagojevich Enterprise” Was Actually a Bi-Partisan Affair

By Jon Perkins
tickethewire.com

Indictedgov-blagojevich-plane ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a die-hard Democrat, has clearly been an embarrassment to his party.

But what’s often lost amid the salacious allegations is that the “Blagojevich Enterprise” – a cynical term dubbed by the prosecution in the April 2 indictment — has been a bi-partisan affair, an equal opportunity for both Dems and Republicans to line their pockets.

The indictment includes the names of William Cellini, a Springfield, Ill., businessmen and a leading figure in GOP state politics who is accused of fraud conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and attempted extortion. And lobbyist Robert Kjellander, a former RNC treasurer who Chicago Tribune sources said is tied to an alleged scheme to direct the sale of billions of dollars in bonds to refinance the state’s pension debt and secretly kick back hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic financier Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

So in reality, there’s probably a better term for the level of corruption here – no offense to the U.S. Atty.Patrick Fitzgerald. It’s called the “Illinois Combine”.

The Illinois Combine as defined by Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, as a loose and shadowy bipartisan confederation of powerful state figures that allegedly
rules across party lines to line the pockets of political allies without regard to party affiliation.

A combine, notice the lower case “c,” is a very handy if not essential piece of farm machinery. The combine is designed to harvest grain. The Illinois Combine appears to be designed to harvest money and power for the private enrichment for the politically well-connected from the public trough.

There are some dangers in operating farm equipment, and combines are no exception. Combines can get stuck in the fields and occasionally can hit a rut and expel passengers.

Bagojevch faces 16 charges of fraud, extortion and racketeering
conspiracy. His indictment, which came more than three months after
Blagojevich was arrested, repeated the allegation that the
then-governor sought to use his power to appoint President Obama’s
replacement in the US Senate to sell the seat to the highest bidder.

The 75-page indictment also said that he plotted with close aides to
make money from his office even before he was elected in 2002.

Blagojevich, his brother Robert, and fellow defendants Christopher Kelly and William Cellini are to be arraigned before U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Tuesday. Former Blagojevich aides John Harris and Lon Monk are to be arraigned April 16. Both Harris and Monk reportedly are cooperating with the government.

Boston Feds Add 23 More Counts To Indictment Against Ex-State Rep. Dianne Wilkerson

The former state senator thought she had problems before. Now the charges are really piling up. Another promising political career down the drain. 

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

By Jonathan Saltzman
The Boston Globe
BOSTON — Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson began taking bribes in exchange for political favors in 2002, five years earlier than authorities originally alleged when she was arrested last October in an alleged extortion scheme, according to a new federal indictment announced yesterday.

A grand jury handed up a superseding indictment yesterday that also added 23 additional charges against Wilkerson for activities that led to her previous indictment. Those charges did not cover the additional bribes that were alleged yesterday.

The Roxbury Democrat resigned in November following her original indictment, which accused her of accepting eight bribes totaling $23,500 to secure a liquor license for a nightclub and legislation to pave the way for a commercial development in Roxbury.

For Full Story

Ex-Gov. Blago May Have to Test his Fundraising Skills to Raise Cash For Lawyers

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

No question ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is going to line up a top notch defense team. But he may not get exactly who he wants if he doesn’t come up with cash. Too late to shake down everyone in exchange for favors. He has nothing to offer. Now his fund raising skills will be put to the test.


Lynne Marek
The National Law Journal

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s criminal defense team is still in flux even as a whopping 75-page federal indictment landed on him this week.

The ex-governor, who was socked with political corruption charges in December, hasn’t been able to solidify his criminal defense team mainly because it has been unclear how he will pay his lawyers if the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago freezes his campaign funds, which otherwise could be used to pay his attorney fees.

While several Chicago criminal defense lawyers, including Terry Gillespie and Alan Brunell, say they have spoken with the governor about working on the case, final decisions have hung in the balance because of a lack of clarity on the money issue and the extensiveness on the indictment. Assessment of those issues can begin now in light of the April 2 indictment naming not only the governor, but also the governor’s brother and campaign fund chairman, Robert Blagojevich, among other defendants.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judge  Orders Justice to Turn Over Documents in Stevens Case (Washington Post)

Ex-Gov. Blago Indictment Expected this Week in Chicago

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

The day many have been waiting for is approaching. Expect the new indictment to be chock full of new details about Blagojevich and his chief of staff. It could also include more defendants. And expect to see the ex-Gov. flood the airwaves after the indictment comes out. He’s not shy.

By John Chase and Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — With a deadline fast approaching for federal prosecutors to file an indictment against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, all eyes will be on the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse this week.

Sources with knowledge of the probe have said the indictment could be filed as soon as Thursday. That is the last scheduled day for the grand jury investigating the former governor to meet before an April 7 deadline for filing the indictment.

The grand jury has convened on Thursdays throughout the lengthy federal investigation.

For Full Story

Blago’s Secret Talks with the Tribune Company (Chicago Tribune)