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Tag: U.S. Attorney

Az. U.S. Atty. Plans to Try Shooting Case in State

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke says he wants the prosecution of mass-shooter Jared Loughner to remain in the state.

“For good reason, federal law dictates these offenses be tried in this district,” a Burke spokesman said in a written statement, according to the Arizona Republic “We are moving forward and confident in this course.”

His statement was backed by a Justice Department spokesman in Washington, which contradicted a Washington Post report citing an unnamed federal source as saying it was just a matter of time before it was moved out of state.

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

All the federal judges in Arizona recused themselves of the case since Chief U.S. District Judge John Roll was among the six murdered earlier this month.

Loughner is accused of killing six people and wounding 13 including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose appears to improving.

Loughner’s shooting and apparent mental instability have set off a fresh debate over gun control.

Brooklyn Fed Judge Defies Prosecutors in Child Porn Case


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In Brooklyn, a federal judge is getting some attention for siding more with a man convicted on child pornography charges than with federal prosecutors.

The New York Times reports that U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein blew off prosecutor’s recommendation that defendant Pietro Polizzi, 57, of Queens get 11-14 years. On Thursday, the judge gave him the mandatory minimum of five years.

The Times wrote that Judge Weinstein “was compassionate toward the defendant, allowing him to remain free for two more months, and dismissive of the government’s efforts to get a longer sentence.”

Last year, in an interview with The New York Times, the judge said those who viewed pornography should not be treated the same as those who produce images.

”We’re destroying lives unnecessarily,” he said then. ”At the most, they should be receiving treatment and supervision.”

On Thursday, the judge responded to the government’s sentencing recommendation of 11-14 years, according to the Times, by saying: ”I find it grossly excessive. Therefore, a guideline sentence is not imposed.”

Federal prosecutors had asked that he be taken into custody immediately. The judge gave him eight weeks before he had to report to prison, the Times reported.

”Calling it a crime of violence for this purpose seems to me a strange treatment of language,” the judge said, according to the Times. ”It does seem to me to be a form of cruel and unusual punishment and punitive in nature.”

To read more click here.

Guyanese National Gets 15 Years in Plot to Blow Up JFK Airport

jfk airport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Guyanese national was sentenced Thursday in Brooklyn federal court to 15 years in prison for his role in an international plot to blow up fuel lines and fuel tanks under JFK Airport in Queens, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Authorities charged that that Abdel Nur provided material support to the plot by trying to locate al Qaeda explosives expert Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah, and by introducing the plotters and presenting the plot to Yasin Abu Bakr, the notorious leader of the Trinidadian militant group Jamaat Al Muslimeen, who had been involved in terrorist attacks aimed at overthrowing the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

On June 29, he pleaded guilty.

Subsequently, a federal jury convicted Abdul Kadir and Russell Defreitas in the plot. In December, Kadir was sentenced to life in prison. Defreitas is set to be sentenced on Feb. 17.  A fourth person charged in the plot, Kareem Ibrahim, still faces trial.

Authorities say the plotters hoped the explosion and damage would dwarf the 9/11 attack.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

John Dowdy Jr. Named Court Appointed U.S. Atty in Mississippi

John Dowdy/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

John M. Dowdy Jr., who has been the acting first assistant U.S. Attorney for the past year, is now the court-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

He replaces Donald R. Burkhalter, who retired this month.

Dowdy was appointed by Chief U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. Dowdy, a veteran federal prosecutor who has been with the office since 1988, had previously served as chief of the criminal division since 2004. He will likely serve as U.S. Attorney until president Obama appoints someone to the post.

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara Comes Out With Tough Talk After Mob Guilty Pleas


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara came out with some tough talk after the last two of 14 members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family in New York pleaded guilty Monday in what was regarded as a wide sweeping indictment involving everything from jury tampering, murder, sex and narcotics trafficking and extortion.

“The Gambino Family and their associates continue to use violence, threats, and intimidation to wield power and profit illegally off the backs of their many victims,” Bharara said in a statement. “But the convictions of all 14 individuals charged by this Office just nine months ago has dealt the Gambinos a significant blow.”

“As the result of our prosecution, one of the mafia’s preeminent leaders and many of its rising stars will now serve significant prison sentences.

“We are, however, far from finished with the Gambino Family and will continue working with our law enforcement partners to put their members and associates out of business and behind bars.”

Thomas Orefice and Dominick Difiore and pleaded guilty on Monday. Others who previously pleaded guilty included: (1) DANIEL MARINO; (2) ONOFRIO MODICA; (3)ANTHONY MANZELLA;(4)MICHAEL SCOTTO; (5) MICHAEL SCARPACI; (6) THOMAS SCARPACI; (7)DAVID EISLER; (8) SALVATORE BORGIA; (9) STEVE MAIURRO; (10) KEITH DELLITALIA; (11) SUZANNE PORCELLI; and (12) ANTHONY VECCHIONE.

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara/doj photo

One  allegation in the indictment charged that Onofrio Modica, along with other Gambino Crime Family members, had planned to tamper with the jury in the 1992 trial of Godfather John J. Gotti, who was charged with federal racketeering and murder.

Authorities alleged that the men penetrated security measures and located the jury, which was sequestered in a hotel. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the plan was called off after Gotti figured the jury wasn’t going to convict him anyways.

Texas Fed Prosecutor Fred Schattman Dies at Age 60

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Worth, Tex.,  assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Schattman was the go-to guy when people were stumped on complicated cases, when they needed some guidance, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“He was a master at coming up with a strategy to take down an organization that many times law enforcement had tried for years to deal with, but never could bring down,” former U.S. Attorney Richard Roper told the paper.

Schattman, who worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 25 years, died Dec. 30 of a heart attack while vacationing in California, the Star-Telegram reported. He was 60.

“It was ‘When in doubt, ask Fred how to do it,'” Mark Nichols, deputy chief in the U.S. Attoreny’s Office in Fort Worth told the paper.

Schattman first worked in North Texas as an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County and joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1985, the paper reported. Since 1989, he had been assigned to task forces working on organized crime and drug enforcement.

His wife told the paper that Schattman, father of four, was in San Diego spending Christmas with family. Some members had a stomach bug, so he volunteered to go to the drug store and get ginger ale and medicine.

While in line, he collapsed, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

The Underwear Bomber and Ex-Mayor Indicted; Detroit U.S. Atty. Barbara McQuade Has Had a Busy 1st Year

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By TRESA BALDAS
Free Press Staff Writer

DETROIT — A man suspected of trying to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underwear. A former mayor accused of turning city hall into a mob-like racket. And a man facing the death penalty.

Pretty hairy for her first year on the job.

But U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade took it all in stride, finishing the year with one of the biggest indictments in Detroit history: busting the alleged Kilpatrick Enterprise.

On Wednesday, culminating a six-year investigation, federal prosecutors charged ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and three associates with shaking down city contractors to steer millions in public funds into their own pockets.

To read full story click here.

Customs and Border Protection Agent at Atlanta Airport Charged With Smuggling Cash and Guns in Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at the Atlanta airport was charged with 13 others in a large scale drug operation in which authorities seized 700,000 tabs of ecstasy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Authorities say that agent Devon “Romey” Samuel, 45, of Stockbridge, Ga., was charged in three undercover stings conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in which he allegedly smuggled drug money and guns through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Authorities say the probe into Samuel led to the “unraveling of a large scale ecstasy trafficking organization.”

On Nov. 3, an undercover agent posing as a drug money launderer gave Samuels about $22,000, authorities charged. Samuels then used his badge to bypass security and delivered the money to a Jamaica to an undercover police officer posing as an international drug dealer.

A few weeks later, he allegedly accepted $50,000 from an undercover officer and delivered the money to Jamaican undercover police, authorities said.

On Nov. 30, authorities say Samuels accepted five firearms and about $20,000 in what he thought was drug money from an undercover cop, authorities said. He went directly to the airport with the guns and money and used his badge to bypass security. Once inside the airport, he allegedly gave the guns to  second undercover officer who told Samuels he was going to give the guns and cash to members of a Mexican drug cartel at a meeting in Arizona.

Authorities alleged that Samuels also used government computers to check whether he or his associates were under investigation.

“The indictment charges a Customs and Border Protection agent at the airport with taking payoffs to smuggle guns and drug money from undercover agents posing as international drug traffickers,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “That investigation led to unraveling a large scale ecstasy trafficking organization and the seizure of more than $2.8 million worth of ecstasy from a house in Chamblee–one of the largest seizures in the country.”