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Tag: U.S. Attorney

Feds Bust Missouri Priest for Child Porn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds have busted a Roman Catholic priest in Missouri on charges of producing and possessing child pornography after he allegedly took photos of girls ages 2 to 12 on church property over a six year period, including in the choir loft.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City charged Shawn Ratigan, 45, of Independence, Mo., in a 13 count indictment on Tuesday.

“When a person who has been placed in a position of trust exploits and victimizes children, he victimizes the entire community,” U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said. “Today’s indictment sends a strong message that we will not tolerate this criminal behavior.”

Ratigan, 45, was the parish pastor at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kansas City, Mo., and more recently served as chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Eucharist in Independence.

Pres. Obama Nominates David Barlow for Utah U.S. Attorney

David Barlow/abc4 photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

David B. Barlow, who has served as General Counsel and Chief Counsel for Judiciary for Senator Michael S. Lee since January, has been nominated by the White House to become the U.S. Attorney for Utah.

The announcement on Tuesday comes a days after the FBI announced that David J. Johnson would take over as the head of the Utah FBI.

From 2000 to 2010, Mr. Barlow worked at Sidley Austin LLP, first as an Associate from 2000 to 2006, and then as a Partner from 2006 to 2010, the White House said in a press release.

He graduated graduated from Brigham Young University in 1995 and Yale Law School in 1998.

Column: New Orlean’s U.S. Atty. Jim Letten Speaks of Diversity and the Arab-Muslim Community

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney
New Orleans Times-Picayune Op-Ed Page

NEW ORLEANS — As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and continue to defend against those who wage their vicious campaigns against us and our freedoms, it is essential that we look forward.

That is not to say that we need not remain ever more vigilant by fiercely, courageously and intelligently defending this great nation. It does mean, however, that our uniquely American way of life and our freedoms must be preserved as well — intact and for all who lawfully and in good faith embrace it and seek its protection and freedoms.

I write this piece as an American and as U.S. attorney — and to fulfill a promise I readily made to our friends and neighbors in our local Arab-Muslim community. I can proudly say that the citizens here in Southeast Louisiana have displayed the best of the American spirit in the tolerant, highly diverse gumbo of cultures that is quintessentially reflective of America as a whole.

But even in the greatest country in the world, assimilation can often be difficult and fraught with challenges. Nowhere has that cultural blending been tested more than with our Arab-Muslim neighbors. The consequences of an ongoing global war that we and our allies have waged against terrorists have at times included a backlash often directed against Arab and Muslim Americans.

To read full column click here.

Former ATF Official in Mexico Apologizes to Mexico for Fast and Furious

Darren Gil/cbs file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Darren Gil, the former attache for ATF in Mexico City, apologized Tuesday to his Mexican counterparts for Operation Fast and Furious, the ATF program that encouraged gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, with the hopes of tracing the guns to Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some which have showed up at crime scenes.

“As former head of ATF in Mexico, I would like to apologize to my former Mexican law enforcement counterparts and the people of Mexico for Fast and Furious, ” Gil testified Tuesday before a hearing on the operation before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Washington.

“I hope they understand it was kept secret from me and my colleagues and unfortunately the results of this operation is that the Mexican people will continue to suffer the consequences of narco related firearms violence.

“To put it bluntly, it’s inconceivable in my mind and in the mind of any competent agent to allow firearms to disappear at all. Further more, it’s even more inconceivable that a  competent agent would allow firearms to cross (an) international border, knowing that they were designated for the worst of the worst criminals in the western hemisphere.”

Gil was the first of several witnesses to testify Tuesday morning.

Witnesses also offered condolences to the family of Brian Terry, the Arizona U.S. Border Patrol Agent who was killed last December. Two guns from the Fast and Furious Operation were found at the scene.

Committee members expressed frustration and near disgust at the testimony of  William Newell, the former head of the Arizona, ATF, who admitted the operation had flaws, but the agency did not “walk guns.” Newell continually said he should have conducted more “risk assessment” when conducting the operation to better pinpoint problems.

He said he would do several things differently if he did it again.

Rep. Darrell Issa said that Newell was entitled to his opinions, but not the facts.

Carlos Canino, ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico, expressed his disgust about the investigation and spoke of the hurt he felt when ATF agents told him they were embarrassed to carry an ATF badge after publicity surfaced about Fast and Furious.

Ex-Interim Philly U.S. Atty. Suspended for 100 Days

Ex-U.S. Atty. Laurie Magid

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Philly interim U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid, who is now an assistant U.S. Attorney, has agreed to a 100 day suspension without pay for violating federal restrictions on political contributions in connection with fund-raisers for U.S. Rep. Patrick L. Meehan and former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The paper reported that the settlement, completed Thursday in the ethics case, was investigated by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

The penalty was part of a settlement completed Thursday that concluded an ethics case pursued by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent federal agency. The suspension is slated to begin Sept. 6.

“I have spent my life devoted to public service, and I am looking forward to continuing my work as a prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Magid said Friday in a statement to the newspaper.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has alleged that as a government employee Magid improperly held fundraisers for Sen. Arlen Specter in 2008 and one for U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan in 2009, and solicited funds from subordinates at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the fundraisers, according to the counsel’s Feb. 15 document.

The special counsel recommended disciplinary action for violating the Hatch Act law. which limits political activity by federal employees.

Magid was the first assistant U.S. Attorney from summer 2005 until July 2008 when she became acting U.S. Attorney. From February 2009 to May 2009 she was the interim U.S. Attorney and then was replaced.

The Office of Special Counsel document stated that in 2008, Magid’s husband was hosting a fundraiser at their home for Sen. Arlen Specter.

The document alleged that she helped her husband and invited eight assistant U.S. attorneys (AUSAs) for the Sen. Specter fundraiser.

“At least one one AUSA expressed concern that he felt pressure to attend this political fundraiser,” the document said.

In early 2009, the husband threw a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Patrick Meehan, the former U.S. Attorney, who eventually decided to run for Congress. Magid helped her husband with the invite list, which included 35 of her subordinate employees. Of those, about 18 got the invitations at their official U.S. Attorney address, the document said.

“When invitations were received, performance evaluations were in progress,” the document said. “Several of respondent’s subordinate employees expressed concerns that they felt pressure to attend this political fundraiser or make a financial contribution.”

Boston U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz Quickly Becomes High Profile

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

By Milton J. Valencia
Boston Globe

BOSTON — She is the United States attorney who barked back at former city councilor Chuck Turner, and it was her administration that convicted former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, once one of the most powerful political figures in Massachusetts.

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz took office only 18 months ago and already she has amassed a list of successes, highlighted by the new flier in her office listing notorious fugitive James “Whitey’’ Bulger as captured.

Her next goal, she says with a smirk: to crack the mysterious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“I’m still holding out hope on that one,’’ said Ortiz, tapping the wooden coffee table in her ninth-floor office in the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, overlooking Boston Harbor.

“Knock on wood,’’ she added. “I always knock on wood.’’

To read full story click here.

D.C. U.S. Atty. Ron Machen Didn’t Make the Cut

Ron Machen Jr./doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

No surprise here.

D.C. U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. reported for jury duty Monday in D.C. Superior Court, but didn’t make the cut, the Blog of Legal Times reported.

“I appreciated the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty,” Machen said in an e-mail to the Blog of Legal Times. “Much to my chagrin, I did not get the chance to serve on a jury. However, I enjoyed the experience and got to complete a lot of reading.”

The blog reported that Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. reported to jury duty last November in D.C. Superior Court, but got bounced as well.

Feds Indict Man Who Used Internet to Encourage Terrorist Attacks on Police Stations, Bridges, Water Plants and Synagogues

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 22-year-old Pennsylvania man was indicted in Virginia on Thursday on charges of using the Internet to solicit Islamic extremists to commit terrorist acts on such targets as police stations and synagogues within the U.S. and posting bomb-making instructions.

Emerson Winfield Begolly, of New Bethlehem, Pa., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

“Emerson Begolly is accused of repeatedly using the Internet to promote violent jihad against Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “These allegations demonstrate how young people in the United States can become influenced by – and eventually participate in – jihadist propaganda that is a serious threat to the safety of us all.”

Authorities alleged that Begolly has been an active moderator of a popular, internationally known Islamic extremist web forum, the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF).

Authorities charged that since July 2010, Begolly has placed a number of postings encouraging attacks within the United States, including the use of firearms, explosives and propane tanks against targets such as police stations, post offices, synagogues, military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers and water plants.