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Tag: U.S. Attorney

Portland Mayor Wants Cops to Rejoin FBI’s JTTF — Sort Of

U.S. Atty. Dwight Holton finds plan "unworkable"/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The mayor of Portland, Ore., wants his police officers to rejoin the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force — sort of. He’s offering up conditions  some like. Others see them as being far too restrictive.

As you recall, the city pulled its cops out of the JTTF in 2005, citing concerns about spying on citizens and violating their rights, and breaking state and local laws. The then-mayor and police chief also were bothered that they hadn’t gotten security clearance and access to classified information.

But last November, after an FBI sting turned up a man who was plotting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, some thought it was time to reconsider rejoining. Not all agreed. Some officials still protested.

So this week, Portland Mayor Sam Adams offered up a compromise. He wants to rejoin the JTTF with the condition that cops not get involved in the initial phase or assessment of the investigations unless there’s an imminent threat, the Oregonian newspaper reported.

Under the proposal, officers would get involved in full investigations once a credible threat is established, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregonian reported that U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton considers such a plan “unworkable.”

The Oregonian reported that Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard said he discussed the issue with the mayor a few weeks ago and wanted restrictions on what Portland cops would do on the JTTF squad.

“I did not want our police officers involved in sifting through what is or is not a threat,” Leonard said.

Fed Judge Tosses Conviction of White Supremacist Who Posted Info About Jury Foreman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The message is clear: Even hatemongers have Constitutional rights.

The Chicago Tribune reports that a federal judge has tossed out the conviction in Chicago of  white supremacist William White who posted personal  information on his website about a jury foreman who helped convict a fellow white supremacist in 2004. A jury found White had used the website to solicit an attack on the foreman.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of Milwaukee, who had been assigned to the trial because of local conflicts of interest, wrote in a ruling that prosecutors failed to prove during trial — even though the jury convicted after three hours of deliberation — that supremacist White’s postings on overthrow.com showed he wanted the foreman harmed, the Tribune reported.

She wrote that the posting was protected by the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment protects vehement, scathing and even offensive criticism of others, including individuals involved in the criminal justice system,” Adelman wrote, according to the Tribune. “Knowledge, suspicion or even hope that something might happen to Hoffman is not enough.”

Prosecutors charged that White had posted info in 2008 on his website about jury foreman Mark Hoffman, saying he was the  “gay Jewish anti-racist” juror who had helped convict Matthew Hale for the solicitation of the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, the Trib reported. White also included info about Hoffman including a color photo, home address, phone numbers and his cats name (Hoffman is not Jewish).

Prosecutors during trial pointed out that in 2005, White on his website called for the “assassination” of anyone involved in the Hale trial, the Trib reported.

White’s attorneys argued their client never directly solicited an attack on Hoffman, the Trib reported.

The Tribune reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago is considering an appeal.

Va. Man Who Plotted to Blow Up D.C. Area Subways Gets 23 Years; Was Caught in FBI Sting

Farooque Ahmed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s serious prison time for Farooque Ahmed, 35, of Ashburn, Va., who pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the Washington area subway system.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce in  Alexandria, Va. sentenced Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, to 23 years in prison. Ahmed thought he was plotting with al Qaeda members to blow up the Metro system, when in fact he was dealing with undercover FBI operatives and agents in a sting.

“Mr. Ahmed today admitted he was determined to kill as many people as possible through multiple bombings at the heart of our nation’s capital,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “It’s chilling that a man from Ashburn could admit to planning these acts of terrorism, and a 23-year sentence is a just punishment. We are grateful for the outstanding work of the FBI in detecting and disrupting this plot.”

“From his home in Ashburn, Virginia, believing that he was working for Al-Qaeda, Farooque Ahmed plotted to carry out the simultaneous bombing of multiple Metro trains in the D.C. area,” said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Ahmed was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 27, 2010.

According to court records, Ahmed met with people he thought were with al Qaeda and conducted surveillance and recorded video of Metrorail stations in Arlington, Va., on four occasions.

President Chips Away at Fed Law Enforcement Nominations: The latest Being U.S. Atty for Ala. and U.S. Marshal for NY

George Beck Jr./law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After more than two years in office, President Obama is still chipping away at appointments for U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal.

The latest: President Obama nominated private attorney George Lamar Beck, Jr., a former Deputy Attorney General in Alabama from 1971 to 1979,  for the U.S. Attorney post for the Middle District of Alabama. He’s currently  a shareholder with the firm Capell & Howard. He would replace Leura Garrett Canary, who was appointed by President Bush in 2001.

President Obama also nominated David L. McNulty,  a major in the New York State Police, for U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of New York. McNulty rose through the ranks in the New York State Police. He first joined in 1978.

DEA and Locals Nab Guatemala’s Top Drug Trafficker


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The DEA and Guatemala authorities on Wednesday nabbed Guatemala’s reputed top drug trafficker who was wanted on cocaine charges in Florida, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Juan Ortiz Lopez and two other suspects were arrested at a house in the western city of Quetzaltenango.

Guatemala’s Minister Carlos Menocal said Lopez had been under surveillance by the DEA and his nation’s intelligence agents for seven days, AP reported.

“This is a big fish and we are satisfied with his capture. It’s a great achievement by this government,” Menocal said, according to AP.

Tampa’s U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill added, according to AP: “For over a decade, Ortiz-Lopez’s drug organization received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Guatemala, which would then be transported through Mexico to the United States, where the cocaine would be further distributed.”

Executions of Fed Prisoners May Be Rare But the Denver U.S. Atty. Will Try for Dealth Penalty in 2 Cases

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Going for the federal death penalty is one thing. Putting a federal inmate to death is another.

Since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 1988,  three  federal inmates have actually been executed and 60 are sitting on death row, according to Death Penalty Information Center. The last inmate to be executed was Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.

Now comes one of the latest pushes:  U.S. Attorney John Walsh in Denver is seeking  the death penalty for two inmates already convicted of murder, who face fresh charges of killing inmates at the Supermax” federal prison  in Colorado, according to the Denver Post. It is the first time a U.S. Attorney in Denver has filed notice to go after the death penalty since 2001, the paper reported. The inmates names are Richard Santiago and Gary Watland and are charged in separate murders.

The Denver Post reported that  Santiago, 51, is accused of beating a man to death at the Supermax prison in 2005. Authorities charged that he and another inmate, Silvestre Mayorqui Rivera,  stomped  on inmate Manuel Torrez until he was unresponsive. After walking away, Santiago returned and kicked him in the head and torso several times, the Post reported.

Prosecutors are only seeking the death penalty against Santiago, who claims to be in the Mexican Mafia,  and  was involved in a previous murder while in custody in Fresno, Calif., the Denver Post reported.

In the other case, inmate Gary Douglas Watland, 48, is accused of stabbing fellow inmate Mark James Baker in the neck and head with a homemade metal “shank” in 2008, the Post reported. The paper reported that Watland was serving a life sentence for a state murder at the time of the prison slaying.

NY U.S. Atty’s Office Goes More Global Since 2004

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

From reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Coke to notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has become aggressively global, indicting international figures from around the world, the New York Times reports.

Since 2004,  the Times’ Ben Weiser reports that the office has sent prosecutors to 25-plus countries “as part of investigations that have brought back dozens of suspected arms and narcotics traffickers and terrorists to Manhattan to face charges. And some of them have involved stings like the one that snared Mr. Bout.”

The paper reported that some other U.S. Attorney’s Offices like the one in Alexandria, Va., have also built international cases, but none appear to have done so in similar number or variety as the New York office.

“I think they are pursuing more kinds of international cases, with a deliberateness that’s new,” ex-N.Y. U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White told the Times.

The current U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was appointed to his post in 2009,  told the Times that it has become necessary in the post-911 era.

“As crime has gone global and national security threats are global,” he said, “in my view the long arm of the law has to get even longer. We can’t wait until bombs are going off.”

To read full story click here.

President Nominates 3 U.S. Attorneys and 3 U.S. Marshals

Thomas Walker

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday nominated three  U.S. Attorneys and three U.S. Marshals.

The nominees for U.S. Attorney include Charlotte lawyer Thomas Gray Walker for North Carolina’s Eastern District, assistant U.S. Attorney Felicia Adams for the Northern District of Mississippi and S. Amanda Marshall.

So far, according to the Justice Department, 76 U.S. Attorneys have been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Five of the current U.S. Attorneys were nominated by President Bush.

Walker had previously been nominated in 2009, but senators wanted the current U.S. Attorney George Holding, a Bush appointee, to finish up some key investigations including one into campaign contributions involving former Sen. John Edwards.

Felicia Adams is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Mississippi and worked as a prosecutor from 1989 to 2000 in the Northern District.  Amanda Marshall, like Walker, had previously been nominated by the president, but the Senate failed to act on the nomination the first time before it recessed in December. She is a child advocacy lawyer for the Oregon Department of Justice, according to the news website  Main Justice.

For U.S. Marshal, the president nominated: Ponca City Police Chief Clayton D. Johnson for the Northern District of Oklahoma; Alfred Cooper Lomax for the Western District of Missouri and Charles F. Salina for the Western District of New York.

Salina has been with the Marshals Service since 1988. Alfred Cooper Lomax spent nearly 30 years with the Kansas City Police Department before becoming Chief of Airport Safety and Security at the Kansas City International Airport.