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Tag: U.S. Attorney

Senate Judiciary Gives Nod to 5 Nominees for U.S. Atty in Texas and Oregon and a U.S. Marshal in Fla.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pitman is a nominee

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years after being elected President, the Obama administration is still working to fill the U.S. Attorney spots.

The latest: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave the go ahead by voice vote for four U.S. Attorney nominees in Texas and one in Oregon. The full Senate must now vote on the matter.

The Texas nominees include: Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas; U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman for the Western District of Texas; John Malcolm Bales for the Eastern District of Texas; and Sarah Ruth Saldana for the Northern District of Texas.

S. Amanda Marshall got the nod for the U.S. Attorney spot in Oregon.

Additionally, the committee gave the nod for nominee Edward M. Spooner for the U.S. Marshal job in Northern District of Florida.

 

Az. U.S. Attorney’s Office Tried to Cover Up Murder Link in “Fast and Furious”, Congressional Members Say

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The controversial ATF program “Operation Fast and Furious” continues to generate plenty controversy.

The latest: CBS News reports that Congressional investigators say the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona tried covering up a link between Fast and Furious and the murder in Arizona of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.

Two assault rifles from the operation were found at the scene of Terry’s murder. The FBI was unable to make a determination whether the weapons were used in the murder.

The operation encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of the tracing the assault weapons to the Mexican cartels. The problems was that ATF lost track of many of the weapons, some which ended up at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

CBS reports that a letter by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) to Arizona’s Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel said Assistant U.S Attorney Emory Hurley, learned almost immediately that guns allowed onto the street in his case, had been recovered at Terry’s murder.

“(I)n the hours after Agent Terry’s death,” says the letter from Grassley and Issa, Hurley apparently “contemplated the connection between the two cases and sought to prevent the connection from being disclosed.” The Justice Department recently transferred Hurley out of the criminal division into the civil division, CBS reported.

Read Congressional Letter to Acting U.S. Atty. in Az. 

 

Arizona U.S. Atty.’s Abrupt Resignation Raises Doubts About Political Future

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — Dennis Burke, one of Arizona’s most prominent and well-connected Democratic political figures, abruptly resigned as the state’s top federal prosecutor Tuesday, stirring doubts about earlier expectations that he might mount a bid for governor, attorney general or U.S. senator.

Burke served in Washington as a senior adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and in Arizona as her chief of staff when she was governor. His departure as U.S. Attorney comes as congressional investigators and an internal Justice Department inquiry are examining how an Arizona-based federal gun-trafficking investigation may have allowed as many as 2,000 guns to flow to criminals.

Many Arizona politicos assumed that Burke was trying to walk in Napolitano’s footsteps by seeking a federal prosecutor’s job, then perhaps the Arizona attorney general’s post and the governor’s office. However, Arizona analysts said those possibilities now seem more remote in the wake of Burke’s sudden resignation and as questions swirl about his office’s handling of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives probe known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”

To read full story click here.

New Acting ATF Director Todd Jones No Stranger to Fed Law Enforcement; Considered Pro ATF

U.S. Atty. Jones, new acting ATF Dir.

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The new acting director of ATF, B. Todd Jones, is no stranger to federal law enforcement.

In fact Jones is on his second go around as U.S. Attorney in Minnesota.

Jones, who will remain the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota while serving as acting head of ATF, was first appointed to the U.S. Attorney job by President Clinton in 1998. He remained on the job until January 2001.  He was again nominated in 2009, this time by President Obama, and was confirmed in August of that year.

One ATF agent on Tuesday told ticklethewire.com that Jones has a reputation as being pro-ATF, an issue that’s of obvious concern to agents.

After leaving the U.S. Attorney post in 2001, Jones went on to work as a partner with a major national law firm in Minneapolis, Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi,, where he focused on complex business litigation. He represented a number of organizations and individuals in both criminal and civil regulatory matters.

President Obama nominated him in 2009 as the U.S. Attorney and he was confirmed by the Senate in August of that year.

After taking office, Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. appointed Jones to serve as Chair of the Attorney General Advisory Committee (AGAC), a body that consists of 18 U. S. Attorneys. The committee is responsible for advising the Attorney General on a broad array of Department of Justice policy issues.

Jones earned his law degree from  the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983.  After being accepted by the Minnesota bar, he went on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of courts martial proceedings.

In 1989, he and his family returned to Minnesota, where he developed a civil litigation practice encompassing a wide variety of legal matters, ranging from products liability defense and insurance coverage disputes to environmental and labor and employment controversies in both a private and public sector setting.

A  Sept. 19, 2009 story in the Minneapolis Tribune, reported that Jones, as a Marines Corps office, was recalled to active duty in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, where he learned lesson on juggling multiple responsibilities of national security, law enforcement and justice.

“I learned the importance of focus, of working as a team,” he told the paper.

“Everything cannot be a priority,” he was quoted as saying. “Or nothing is a priority.”

 

Feds Respond to Leak Allegations by Lance Armstrong’s Attorneys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Unless someone leaks it, we won’t know what federal prosecutors said in a sealed motion filed Monday in response to complaints by star cyclist Lance Armstrong’s attorneys, who say the feds leaked info about a grand jury probe into Armstrong and allegations of doping.

The Associated Press reported that LA U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said Monday prosecutors filed the response under seal to safeguard rules protecting grand jury secrecy.

Armstrong’s attorneys in July filed a motion complaining about the leaks reported in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times were harming Armstrong’s reputation, AP reported.

Armstrong’s lawyers want a judge to require federal agents to detail conversations with the media and hold officials in contempt for the leaks, AP reported.

As a last resort, they’ve want reporters to reveal their sources.

2 Somali Pirates Get Life in Death of 4 U.S. Citizens

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pirate biz may have provided a good life for two Somalian men. Now it’s simply providing life — in prison that is.

Ali Abdi Mohamed, 30, and Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf, 31, were both sentenced Monday in federal court in Norfolk, Va. to life in prison for their roles in the pirate attack in February off the coast of Oman against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of four U.S. citizens, the Justice Department said.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.

“Piracy is a scourge that threatens nations, commerce, and individual lives,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in a statement. “This is the first case where American lives have been lost due to Somali piracy, and as Somali pirates expand their territory, the risk of violence and harm to others continues to grow. Today’s sentences send a message to all those who participate in piracy that armed attacks on the high seas carry lifelong consequences.”

Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI added: “The pirates’ vain attempt to obtain ransom, after nine days at sea, ended in the death of four Americans. Today’s life sentences will be heard throughout the pirate community—and should send a clear message—that the days of unbridled armed robbery and extortion at sea are over. The only plunder these pirates earned is life behind bar.”

Authorities said the two men pled guilty to piracy, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Nine co-conspirators have also pled guilty and will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

The two men were among 19 Somalis who searched the high seas for a vessel to hold for ranson.

After several days at sea, authorities said,  the pirates were approximately 900 miles from Somalia and running low on fuel when they spotted the American vessel, the S/V Quest. So they took the four people aboard as hostages. Eventually during a standoff with U.S. warships, the pirates killed the four hostages.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Miss. U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton Dies at 60; Office Prosecuted Old Civil Rights Era Cases

Dunn Lampton

By Allan Lengel ticklethewire.com

Former Jackson, Miss. U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton, who was appointed by President Bush in 2001,  and led the prosecutions in some old civil rights case,  died Wednesday of  natural causes, the station WAPT reported. He was 60.

While serving as U.S. Attorney, his office led the prosecution of once-dormant civil rights cases against reputed Ku Klux Klansmen Ernest Avants and James Ford Seale, the station reported.

His office also prosecuted  hundreds of fraud cases after Hurricane Katrina. He retired in 2009.

Ala. Fed Prosecutors to Get 2nd Bite Out of Apple in Corruption Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds in Alabama will get a second bite out of the apple after their high-profile gambling corruption case imploded last week.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson set a retrial date of Oct. 3. However, he has not yet decided whether there will be more than one trial, the Associated Press reported.

A jury voted to acquit on 91 charges and deadlocked on 33 others. None of the nine defendants were convicted, and two were completely acquitted.

The nine defendants were accused of buying and selling votes on legislation that would legalize electronic bingo games in the state, AP reported.

AP reported that the Justice Department has asked the judge to split the seven remaining defendants into three groups for retrial. The defense attorneys want one combined trial.  The judge plans to address the issue on Wednesday.