Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Justice Department

Atty. Gen. Holder Delivers Uplifting, Cheerleader-like Speech to the Troops

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sometimes the troops need an uplifting, cheerleader-like speech.

And that’s what Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. — who has sometimes been the Republicans’ favorite pinata — delivered Monday to a crowd of more than 100 employees at the Great Hall at the Department of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

“I have been privileged to serve this Department, I have worked alongside – and learned from – some of the world’s most talented and dedicated lawyers, law enforcement officials, and public servants. Every day, you and your colleagues – a team that’s now more than 114,000 members strong – carry out your important jobs with the simple, but essential, goals of protecting and improving lives – and pursuing justice in every case, every circumstance, and every community.”

“Like you, I love this Department. And, like you, I am proud – not only to serve it, but also to champion its work.”

“Just over two years ago, together, we launched a new chapter in the Department’s extraordinary history. And I was honored that – on that February day – so many of you welcomed me home.

“That day, as I stood before you – and swore the oath of office for the last job I will ever hold here – I laid out three priorities that would guide our work. First, and most importantly, I promised that the Department’s top priority – and our chief responsibility – would be protecting the security, rights, and interests of the American people.

“I also pledged to reinvigorate the Department’s traditional missions and breathe new life into important areas that had been overlooked in recent years.

“Finally, I promised to heal the Department – by rebuilding morale and restoring credibility. As a young lawyer, I had seen my first boss and one of my personal heroes – Attorney General Edward Levi – do just that in the wake of the Watergate scandal.”

Read more »

Column: Source Tells Politico Bush Justice Dept. Nixed Prosecution of Islamic Group Tied to Hamas


By Josh Gerstein
Politico

Under President George W. Bush, the Justice Department considered and rejected criminal charges against the Council on American-Islamic Relations for alleged support of Hamas, a knowledgeable source told POLITICO Monday.

The decision not to indict CAIR came in 2004 as prosecutors in Dallas were preparing to seek an indictment of the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officials, the source said. Some prosecutors wanted to include CAIR and others in the case at that time. However, senior Justice Department officials elected not to, the source said. (The Attorney General at the time was John Ashcroft.)

The disclosure of a Bush-era decision not to indict CAIR is noteworthy because some conservatives have alleged in recent days that a Justice Department decision last year to decline prosecution of CAIR, co-founder Omar Ahmad, and others was motivated by politics and a desire to preserve outreach efforts to U.S. Muslim groups.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Wants Court to Toss Lawsuit Against Secret Service Agents Involving Incident With Ex-Veep Cheney


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has jumped into the fray to try and help two Secret Service agents from being sued in a case linked to former vice president Dick Cheney.

The Associated Press reports that the  Department of Justice filed documents in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver siding with the agents –Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr. and Dan Doyle — who asked that the court overturn the court’s  three-judge panel’s ruling that said Colorado resident Steven Howards could sue them.

AP reported that the Justice Department is arguing that the law protects agents when making split-second decisions when protecting a vice president and president.

AP reported that the Secret Service agents arrested Howards in 2006 after he allegedly approached Cheney at a mall outside of Denver and protested his Iraq policy and touched his shoulder.

Howards alleged in the suit that the arrest was done in retaliation. The feds never charged him and the state dropped charges.

The court panel ruled  last month  that Howards can sue agents on First Amendment grounds, the Associated Press reported. The court ruled that two other agents initially named in the suit are immune in the case.

Last month, Howard’s attorney David Lane said: “I fully intend on deposing the former vice president.”

Rep. Peter King Busts Justice Dept.’s Chops; Claims it Overruled Wishes of Prosecutors and FBI to File Charges in Muslim Charity Case; Justice Dept. Calls Allegations Nonsense

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Peter King is busting the chops of the Justice Department, claiming the department overruled fed prosecutors and FBI agents who wanted to file  charges against unindicted co-conspirators  in  a prosecution of a  Texas-based Muslim charity —  the Holy Land Foundation — which had ties to Hamas in Gaza, the Washington Times reported.

King, a New York Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter on Monday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. asking that he answer questions regarding the 2008 terrorism-financing prosecution, the Washington Times reported.

“I have been reliably informed that the decision not to seek indictments of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its co-founder Omar Ahmad; the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case,” King stated.

King also wants to know if the White House intervened in the matter, the Times reported.

“I believe that in order to maintain the credibility of the department, there should be full transparency into the department’s decision,” King stated.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, issued a statement to ticklethewire.com disputing the allegations:

“The Justice Department brings prosecutions based on the facts and the evidence, nothing more or less. The investigation, prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its leaders for providing material support to Hamas, and determination of whether to charge unindicted co-conspirators, were guided only by the law and the facts; any suggestion to the contrary is false and unfounded.”

“The notion that an individual suspect or organization is immune from Justice Department prosecution solely because of their affiliations, memberships or political leanings is not only false but an affront to Department prosecutors nationwide who bring charges against defendants daily without regard to such considerations.”

To read more on Washington Times story click here.

Politicians Voice Opposition to the Axing of Justice Unit that Cracked Down on Adult XXX

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some conservative politicians — mostly Republicans but some Dems — are beating their chest over pornography.

The politicians including Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) signed a letter earlier this month that was sent to Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. complaining about the Justice Department shuttering its Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. The unit was created  under President George W. Bush, according to Politico.

The group is complaining that the department isn’t doing enough to crackdown on pornography.

Politico reports that the Justice Department insists it’s not giving up the battle against pornography, but it’s best handled at the U.S. Attorney level.

“Attorney General Holder told the Judiciary Committee last year that this task force was the centerpiece of the strategy to combat adult obscenity,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told POLITICO in a statement Friday. “Rather than initiate a single new case since President Obama took office, however, the only development in this area has been the dismantling of the task force. As the toxic waste of obscenity continues to spread and harm everyone it touches, it appears the Obama administration is giving up without a fight.”

In the letter sent to Holder, according to Politico, the politicians said: “We write to urge the Department of Justice vigorously to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.

“We know more than ever how illegal adult obscenity contributes to violence against women, addiction, harm to children, and sex trafficking. This material harms individuals, families and communities and the problems are only getting worse.”

Not all see the elimination of the unit as a bad thing.

“It’s a very smart and pragmatic move on the part of the administration,” Diane Duke of the Free Speech Coalition, a group representing businesses that produce sexually-explicit entertainment, told Politico. “It was a witch hunt against folks in the industry, and it wasn’t one that was particularly successful. … It just seems like, finally, the Department of Justice has caught up with the rest of the nation.”

Read full report

Justice Dept. Threatens to Withhold Funds From Police Depts. That Don’t Require Body Armor

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — No body armor, no cash.

That’s what the Justice Department is saying.

USA Today reports that the Justice Department is threatening to withhold millions of federal dollars from  local police departments that don’t require uniformed officers to wear body armor.

The threats come in wake of a spike in fatal shootings of cops. Body armor is not required at 41 percent of the nation’s police departments, USA Today reports.

“What struck us is the number of agencies that don’t have a mandatory policy … a potential huge vulnerability,” Jim Burch, acting director of the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, told USA Today. “If we’re investing federal dollars, we should require agencies to have policies.”

9/11 Defendants to Be Tried in Military Court; Atty. Gen. Says He Still Believes Civilian Court Was Best Venue

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Because Congress has blocked Gitmo detainees from being prosecuted in civilian court, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. said Monday that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will stand trial in a military court in Gitmo.

The announcement marked a sharp reversal of his announcement in November 2009 that the men would be prosecuted in federal court in New York.

“Unfortunately, since I made that decision, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue,” he said in a statement. “As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

“After thoroughly studying the case, it became clear to me that the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. I stand by that decision today.

“As the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators – one of the most well-researched and documented cases I have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor.

“We had carefully evaluated the evidence and concluded that we could prove the defendants’ guilt while adhering to the bedrock traditions and values of our laws. We had consulted extensively with the intelligence community and developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence.

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years.

“Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been – and must remain – the responsibility of the executive branch. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. Yet they have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. We will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions.”

(Read more of his statement)

Read more »

Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section Could Be Screwing Up Another Public Corruption Case in Ala.


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section which blew the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, may be screwing up a big public corruption case in Montgomery, Ala. Both cases involve allegations of withholding evidence from the defense.

The Associated Press reports that an angry U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. is fed up and said at a pretrial hearing on Friday that he may impose sanctions against the government for repeatedly failing to hand over all  the documents pertaining to FBI wiretaps in a gambling case involving alleged payoffs to politicians to pass legislation.

“This is supposed to be some elite group coming down from D.C., and how this case has been conducted is ridiculous,” the judge said at a pretrial hearing, according to AP. The trial is set for June 6.

The judge did not say what sanctions he might impose, but the defense is asking that the judge toss the case because the  government failed to share certain documents.

AP reported that Casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley, four present and former legislators, and four others are charged with buying and selling votes on legislation. The votes would have kept opened Gilley’s and McGregor’s shuttered electronic bingo casinos.

Prosecutor Steve Feaga said in court, according to AP: “In the course of this case, there have been some mistakes made by the government.”

But AP reported that Feaga said the mistakes were unintentional, such as handing over computer disc without the passwords to access data.

The government has conceded that it has made mistakes, but they weren’t intentional, AP said.

The Public Integrity Section convicted then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in Oct. 27, 2008 of public corruption charges shortly before his re-election. Stevens lost the election, but the Justice Department subsequently  moved to vacate conviction because its Office of Public Integrity failed to turn over evidence to the defense.