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Tag: Justice Department

Justice Dept. Not Budging: Won’t Pay for $750,000 Car FBI Agent Smashed

Latest model of Ferrari F50

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– A Michigan insurance company insists it’s still not getting justice from the Justice Department.

The Associated Press reports that the Justice Department is still refusing to pay $750,000 to a Michigan insurance company for a stolen Ferrari F50 that was recovered, but then was wrecked while being driven by an FBI agent in Kentucky. The Justice Department has refused to release many documents to the insurance company about the incident involving the car that was stolen from a dealership in Rosemont, Pa.

A hearing on the matter is set for June 13 in Detroit.

The Justice Department claimed in a lawsuit filed by the Southfield, Mi. insurance company, Motors Insurance,  that it was immune to tort claims when law enforcement possesses certain goods, AP reported.

The rare car was stolen in 2003 and recovered five years later in Kentucky, AP reported. It became evidence in an ongoing probe.

In May 2009, FBI agent Fred Kingston was moving the car when he lost control and crashed into a curb.

NY Prosecutor Preet Bharara Credited With Bringing Down Hedge Fund Giant Has Had Successful Run

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Justice Department official credited with bringing down hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam is a wisecracking, self-effacing, Bruce Springsteen-loving prosecutor who is deadly serious about what he views as rampant insider trading on Wall Street.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, has been hailed by some in the financial media as the “sheriff of Wall Street.” His office has ramped up white-collar enforcement, charging nearly 50 people in an insider trading crackdown that led to Wednesday’s conviction of Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon hedge fund, on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Yet some who know Bharara, while crediting him with aggressive enforcement, say he is following the tradition of an office known for policing Wall Street since Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken were sent to prison two decades ago. The Rajaratnam investigation began during the George W. Bush administration, though Bharara oversaw the case after taking office in August 2009.

To read full story click here.

Read NY Times Story on Bharara

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ATF Agent Jay Dobyns Rips ATF About “Fast and Furious” and His Problems With the Agency

100 Ex-FBI Agents Still Pushing to Free Convicted Boston Agent John Connolly

John Connolly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One hundred retired FBI agents — including two deputy directors — aren’t giving up their fight to try and exonerate and free convicted ex-Boston agent John J. Connolly Jr., whose relationships with the Boston mob landed  him in big trouble.

The Los Angeles’s Times Richard Serrano reported that the agents, known as Former FBI Agents for Justice For John, are pushing the Florida state courts to overturn his conviction for second-degree murder after having had no luck overturning his federal conviction for racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Connolly Jr., now 70,  was convicted of murder in Florida state court after allegedly tipping off Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi that World Jai Alai President John Callahan was likely to implicate them in a murder, the Times reported. Hitman John Martorano killed Callahan in 1982.

Connolly’s supporters have pointed to the great disparity in sentences between Connolly and Martorano, who confessed to killing 20 people and served 12 years, the Times reported.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Connolly will leave federal prison next month after 9 years, but will go right to state prison in Florida to begin serving a 40 year sentence for the murder. They say the lengthy sentence amounts to a death sentence.

Ex-agent Richard Baker, who is leading the charge, told the Times:

“I have no problem doing this. John was wrongly convicted. And he’ll be dead after just two years in that Florida system. He’ll be shanked or killed once they figure out he was an FBI agent.”

The Florida prosecutor Michael Von Zamft who convicted Connolly says of the ex-agents: “John Connolly wore a badge. He was an FBI agent, and he swore to uphold the law. And yet he became one of the criminals and, maybe worse, he was hiding behind that badge.”

In March, the Associated Press reported that the ex-agents, including the one whose undercover work inspired the movie “Donnie Brasco,”  filed two petitions with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. “demanding appointment of a special counsel to investigate the 70-year-old Connolly’s prosecution, raising a grab-bag of claims spanning many years, some of which have been previously rejected by courts and aired in congressional hearings. They include allegations of questionable tactics by prosecutors, evidence that a key witness lied during Connolly’s 2002 federal corruption trial and contentions there was a rigged result in his 2008 Florida murder case.”

Other ex-agents pushing for Connolly include FBI deputy directors Weldon L. Kennedy and Bruce J. Gebhardt, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

What’s Next for FBI Dir. Robert Mueller III?

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller /fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As his 10-year term comes to an end, rumors and speculation are popping up as to what  FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will do in life.

People who know Mueller say one thing is for certain: He won’t be getting a white belt and white shoes and heading down to Florida to play shuffle board, race to the early bird dinner specials and attend $1 movies.

They say Mueller, who will turn 67 in August, about a month before he steps down,  still wants to stay active professionally.

One rumor — and certainly unconfirmed — is that he has an interest in landing a federal judgeship in California.

One person speculated that he might also have an interest in becoming attorney general if Eric Holder Jr. were to step down after President Obama’s first term.  (Of course, Holder would almost have to if Obama isn’t re-elected).

Another person suggested that Mueller might be a good candidate to take over as baseball commissioner if Bud Selig steps down. Selig first started serving as acting baseball commissioner in 1992 and became the permanent commissioner in 1998.

Justice Department Eyeing College Football Bowl Games

istock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON—  College football could be in for a rude awakening.

The Associated Press reports that  Justice Department has sent a letter to the N.C.A.A. raising questions about the selection process for Bowl Championship Series (BSC) football games, and whether it  complies with anti-trust laws.

AP reported that critics have pushed for a Justice Investigation into the selection process ” saying that it unfairly gives some schools preferential access to the national championship game and top-tier bowls.” The N.C.A.A. said it will respond after getting the letter.

AP reported that a letter authored by Christine Varney, chief of the Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division,  asked N.C.A.A. President Mark Emmert why college football doesn’t have a playoff system to determine its national champion like other  NCAA sports do.

The letter also asks what steps the NCAA has taken to create one.

“Your views would be relevant in helping us to determine the best course of action with regard to the BCS,” she wrote.

AP added that Varney wrote that that the Utah attorney general plans to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS, and 21 professors recently sent the department a letter asking for an antitrust investigation.

Justice Dept. Gives Green Light to N.O. Police K-9 Unit After 6 Month Suspension


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently it took a little Emily Post-like training to get the New Orleans Police K-9 unit on its best behavior.

The Justice Department has given the green light for the New Orleans Police Department to reactivate its canine unit following a six-month suspension, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The Justice Department, which had been called in to review the police department operations, had recommended the suspension after it found that dog handlers in the K-9 unit weren’t able to control the dogs, which too often bit cooperative suspects, the paper reported.

The rate of dog bites was considered excessive for a K-9 unit, and some dogs were “almost completely uncontrollable,” the Picayune reported.

But now things are apparently better.

The paper noted that a police news release stated: “DOJ inspectors … stated that the dogs are now exceptionally trained and will undoubtedly be more effective in tracking down suspects and sniffing out illegal drugs.”

Justice Dept. Drops Leak Probe into Warrantless Wiretaps That Earned NY Times a Pulitzer

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes leak investigation fade into the sunset, never to be heard again.

That appears to be the case with the Justice Department, which has quietly dropped the  criminal investigation into a lawyer who admitted leaking information about President George W. Bush’s top-secret warrantless wiretapping program to The New York Times. The Times ended up winning a Pulitzer Prize with the help of that disclosure, according to Josh Gerstein of Politico.

“The decision not to prosecute former Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm means it is unlikely that anyone will ever be charged for the disclosures that led to the Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story in December 2005 revealing that, after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush ordered the interception of certain phone calls and email messages into and out of the U.S. without a warrant — a move many lawyers contend violated the 1978 law governing intelligence-related wiretaps,” Gerstein wrote.

To read more click here.