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Tag: Prosecutor

Oprah Rules! Prospective Blago Juror Will Get to Attend Taping of Oprah Show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Oprah trumps all!

As you might recall the other day, a prospective juror in the retrial of ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich wanted off jury duty because she had four tickets to a May 10 taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In May, the legendary show, which is taped in Chicago, is finished.

Earlier in the week, the judge and attorneys talked about possibly accommodating her by changing the court schedule that day. Then again, the judge expressed some skepticism about the importance of making it to the taping.

Well, the point is now moot.  The juror, known only as Juror 137,  got her wish. She’s won’t be serving, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported that prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed to drop the woman known as Juror 137 “without any public discussion of her alleged hardship.”

The Tribune reported that the never-short-of-words defendant Rod Blagojevich said afterward that he envied the woman for not having to sit through his retrial.

“No, I would say eff-ing golden,” joked Blagojevich.

Jury selection, which entered Day 5 on Thursday,  is winding down. Opening statements are expected on Monday, the Trib reported.

Let the Fun Begin: Fed Prosecutor Calls Blago a “Liar” As Retrial Nears

headline after first trial

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pretrial hearing was like a “weigh in” before the big boxing match, where both sides snipe at one another.

A federal prosecutor on Monday called the very chatty ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich a ‘liar’  at a pretrial hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

And U.S. District Judge James Zagel warned Blago to watch what he yaps to the media because some of those things could be used against him in the trial that begins on Wednesday.

“You can consider my remarks a red flag,” Zagel said.

Lead prosecutor Reid Schar complained about Blagojevich,  who was saying in the media that federal attorneys tried to hide evidence that might  clear him of the accusations, which include allegations that he tried to sell President Obama’s vacant Senate seat, the Tribune reported.

Schar said in court, according to the Trib:  “This is just an attempt by him to poison what’s going on. . . . At a certain point, enough is enough.”  Schar said he would like to grill Blago on  the witness stand and “confront him with his lies.”  However, it’s not clear if Blago will take the stand in his retrial. He did not in the first trial in which he was only convicted on 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI.

Schar was particularly annoyed by Blago’s comments on TV in which he said the government had the power to publicly release more FBI wiretap recordings, the Tribune reported. Schar said that power resides with the judge. Blago has claimed repeatedly that the prosecutors don’t want to release all the FBI recordings, which would prove his innocence.

“We’d like some remedy for those fabrications that he’s not being called on,” he said, according to the Tribune.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky countered by saying Blago  was offering up his understanding of the rules and intentionally fabricating them, according to the Trib.

Blagojevich spokesman Glenn Selig said in a statement, according to the Trib: “The governor will continue to be truthful, honest and responsible as he does everything he can to clear his name.”

EX-FBI Agent Takes Shots at Brooklyn Prosecutors in His New Book


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex- New York FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio, who beat a murder wrap in 2007 after being accused of advising a mob informant to kill four turncoats, is going after the  local Brooklyn prosecutors who unsuccessfully went after him, according to the New York Daily News.

In his new book “We’re Going to Win This Thing: The Shocking Frame-Up of a Mafia Crime Buster”, DeVecchio takes a shot at the Brooklyn Distict Attorney Charles Hynes, suggesting he was “always more interested in publicity than doing his job,” and was hoping that prosecuting an ex-agent would promote a novel he’d written, the Daily News reported.

And DeVecchio  goes after the controversial frontline local prosecutor Michael Vecchione, who unsuccessfully prosecuted him in 2007, the Daily News reported .The case imploded during trial when it was discovered that a key witness , a gangster’s mistress, was lying. The case was subsequently dropped.

DeVecchio said the trial  was set up so that prosecutor Vecchione would be the good Italian and he would be the bad one, the Daily News reported. And he had little good to say about Vecchione.

“Despite having never seen him, I could tell who he was right away,” he noted in his book.  “Dark-skinned, vacant-eyed, with an aggressive, bulky body topped by a moon face and a graying crew cut. He always seemed to be on the verge of toppling forward.

“He had one of those rock star beards that never grows more than a quarter-inch and endows the wearer with a degenerate look. Someone should tell him that it looks ridiculous on a middle-aged man with a potbelly.”

A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office declined comment, the Daily News reported.

Cleveland Federal Prosecutor Says He Was Fired for Questioning DEA Agent’s Conduct

A federal prosecutor says he was fired for raising questions about a DEA agent. Is the prosecutor a whistleblower or is it simply an internal personnel matter?

John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter
CLEVELAND — Several years before a grand jury started investigating Drug Enforcement Administration agent Lee Lucas for his role in a bungled probe that sent innocent people to prison, a federal prosecutor wrote a memo to his superiors questioning Lucas’ tactics.
That prosecutor, Thomas Gruscinski, lost his job last month. Gruscinski has hired a lawyer, who says the former prosecutor’s criticism of Lucas led to Gruscinski’s dismissal.
“Mr. Gruscinski’s firing was initiated after he had reported numerous instances of suspected misconduct by members of his office to various agencies of the United States government,” said attorney J. Michael Hannon.
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He pointed out that Gruscinski was “fired in the midst of very serious issues being raised about the conduct of federal law enforcement authorities” in Cleveland.
U.S. Attorney Bill Edwards would not say that Gruscinski, who has been a prosecutor for 21 years, was fired, only that “he no longer works for the Department of Justice.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former Mass Gop Leader Pleads to Money Laundering (AP)

Senate Confirms N.Y. Fed Prosecutor to Oversee $700 Billion Bailout

Someone has got to watch over this bailout. Hopefully Neil Barofsky is up to the challenge. If not,  the politicians will have someone to blame.

By Amit R. Paley
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON (Tuesday) — The Senate yesterday confirmed a New York prosecutor as the chief watchdog of the $700 billion financial bailout program, giving him monitoring responsibility over a plan that has come under increasing criticism for lack of oversight.
Neil M. Barofsky becomes the special inspector general for the program after nearly half of the money has been allocated and as lawmakers continue to decry the Bush administration’s implementation of the plan. The Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, said last week that plans are inadequate to enforce executive compensation limits and safeguards against conflict of interest.
“Obviously this will be an extraordinary challenge,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement. “Mr. Barofsky will have to play catch-up and work ferociously in order to account for the $310 billion that has already been spent, while properly supervising the rest of the relief, but I believe that he is up to the task.”
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