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Tag: U.S. Attorney

White House Nominates 7 U.S. Marshals and U.S. Atty for Oregon

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After nearly two years into his presidency, Barack Obama finds himself still whittling away at appointing U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

On Wednesday, he nominated 7 U.S. Marshals and one U.S. Attorney.

The nominees for Marshals included: Charles Edward Andrews for Southern District of Alabama; Darrell James Bell for Montana; William Benedict Berger Sr. for the Middle District of Florida; Russel Edwin Burger for Oregon; Joseph Campbell Moore for Wyoming; Edwin Donovan Sloane for the District of Columbia; and Esteban Soto III for D.C. Superior Court.

For U.S. Attorney, he nominated S. Amanda Marshall for Oregon.

17 Charged With Defrauding Holocaust Fund of $42 Million

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Authorities say a Holocaust fund that helped victims was victimized itself.

Seventeen people were charged in federal court in Manhattan with a long-running scam that defrauded Holocaust funds for survivors out of $42 million, authorities announced today. Some of the fraudulent claims date back to 1993.

Authorities said employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany — also known as the Claims Conference — approved more than 5,500 fraudulent applications, resulting in bogus payouts from the German government through the fund. Workers and those who were part of the conspiracy kept a portion of the payments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York said.

“If ever there was a cause that you would hope and expect would be immune from base greed and criminal fraud, it would be the Claims Conference, which every day assists thousands of poor and elderly victims of Nazi persecution,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

To read full story click here.

Ex-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie Routinely Exceeded Hotel Costs at Taxpayer Expense, IG Report Finds

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey who crusaded against corruption, Chris Christie — now the New Jersey governor —  routinely stayed in expensive hotels at taxpayer expense, far exceeding the government allowance, according to a Justice Department Inspector General report released Monday.

The report, which looked at the travel of all 208 U.S. Attorneys from 2007 to 2008, found that Christie and four others routinely exceeded the government rate for lodging without justification or proper documentation. But it noted that Christie, who was U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2008, was the biggest violator of the five.

The Inspector General  did not name the U.S. Attorneys, but the website Main Justice identified “U.S. Attorney C” in the report as Christie.

“After reviewing the travel documents and interviewing the U.S. Attorney’s secretary, we found insufficient justification for exceeding the government rate with respect to 14 of the 15 trips,” the report said of Christie.

“These 14 vouchers exceeded the government rate by $19 to $242 per night, for a total of $2,176 (excluding taxes for domestic travel). U.S. Attorney C’s lodging costs exceeded the government rate by more than $100 per night on 9 of the 14 vouchers.”

The report said Christie — considered a rising star in the Republican party —  stayed at the  Nine Zero Hotel in Boston for $449 per night and the $475-per-night Four Seasons Hotel in Washington at a cost of more than double the government rate for those cities.

On Christie, the report said: “The U.S. Attorney’s secretary told us that she routinely called hotels to seek the government rate. However, she also said that the U.S. Attorney selected his hotel if he was familiar with the city and that she would seek a recommendation for a “decent” hotel if he was not.

“The secretary told us that if the recommended hotel did not offer the government rate, she would consider other hotels but also take into account the time of the meeting and the distance from the hotel to the meeting site. The secretary stated that the U.S. Attorney normally stayed at the hotel closest to or at the location of his meetings.”

“The justification for his stay at the Four Seasons Hotel (at a rate of $475 per night) was an early morning speech at the hotel. We do not believe this was a suitable justification for exceeding the government rate, particularly by such a large amount, if lodging at the government rate was available at a hotel within a reasonable distance from that hotel.”

Gov. Chrisite’s press secretary Mike Drewniak did not immediately return a call Tuesday morning to ticklethewire.com for comment.  In a New York Time’s story, he declined comment and a spokesman referred to previous comments he made during his campaign.

”I had to go someplace for part of my job. We tried to get the government rate. We couldn’t. So my only alternative would have been to not go,”  Christie said during the campaign in October 2009, according to the Associated Press.

Read report

Judge Rules FBI Agent Cannot Allege in Court that U.S. Attorney Indicted Him Because of Vendetta

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
With trial set to begin next week, a federal judge has ruled  that an FBI agent accused of lying about his ownership in a building the FBI  leased in Oxford, Miss., cannot allege in court that the charges were the result of a vendetta by then-U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee, the  Associated Press reported.

The ruling comes just days before the Nov. 8  trial for FBI agent Hal Neilson in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen, Miss.

The feds indicted Neilson in January on charges that he failed to disclose his interest in the Oxford FBI Building, an office he headed up, and lied about it later.

U.S.  District Judge Sharon Aycock ruled that the defense provided no evidence that Neilson was charged as a result of a vendetta by Greenley,  and that the allegation was irrelevant to the case, AP reported.  Greenley is no longer the U.S. Attorney.

Neilson claims the U.S. Attorney came after him after he criticized the office for investigating a number of residents with Middle Eastern names.

Georgia Cop Tipped Off Friends About an Informant in a Joint FBI-Police Probe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Polk County police detective from Felton, Ga., was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison Tuesday for interfering in a joint FBI-police probe into a chop shop in Polk County and tipping off friends about an informant in the case.

Mark Howell Sparks, 40, was convicted in July of obstruction of justice, tampering with a witness and possessing a vehicle with an altered vehicle identification number (VIN).

Authorities said Sparks was privy to confidential information and encouraged an informant in the investigation into the chop shop to conceal his friends’ involvement in the operation when talking to investigators. He also tipped off the friends that the informant was wearing a wire, authorities said.

U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian said Sparks placed the informant in danger by alerting his friends of the informants role.

“Instead of enforcing the law, Sparks broke it, and now he is going to prison,” Quillian said in a statement.

U.S. Atty in NY May Indict Afghan President’s Brother

afghanistan mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The feds in New York are considering indicting Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother — a U.S. citizen who used to reside in Maryland — on tax evasion, the Washington Post reports.

The Post, which contact brother Mahmoud Karzai by phone for comment, quoted him as saying he had not been contacted by U.S. authorities and “I know myself. I’m very clean.”

The Post, quoting a source familiar with the investigation, said Mahmoud Karzai is expected to be indicted, but “The $64,000 question is when.”

Karzai, a former Baltimore restaurant owner, may face tax charges as a result of the sale of his luxury villa in the Gulf emirate in 2008, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Wants to Bar Indicted Miss. FBI Agent From Alleging U.S. Attorney Had a Vendetta

Mississippi Road SignBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is asking a federal judge in Mississippi to stop defense attorneys for an indicted FBI agent from alleging that the charges stem from a vendetta from the former U.S. Attorney, the Associated Press reported.

The agent, Hal Neilson, was indicted in January for allegedly failing to disclose his ownership of an Oxford, Miss. office which he headed up, and then lying about it. Trial is set for Nov. 8 in Aberdeen, Miss.

AP reports that the government in a motion asked that the judge bar Neilson from alleging that the indictment is the result of a vendetta by Jim Greenlee, who was U.S. attorney at the time the charges were filed.

Prosecutors argued Neilson should bring that claim up with the judge, not the jury, AP reported.

Neilson has alleged that the the U.S. Attorney came after him after he criticized investigations into nearly 150 north Mississippi residents of Middle Eastern origin and questioned a probe of a beef plant.

Did the Prez Really Say That About Nominees for U.S. Attorney and Marshals?

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

The President in Louisiana/white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While Washington may be our nation’s capital, it’s not likely to be mistaken for the capital of sincerity.

Which brings us to the endless stream of press releases the White House  issues when announcing the nominations of U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

Take, for example, on June 9, when the White House issued a press release announcing the nomination of six U.S. Marshals, President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice.”

On the same day,when the White House announced the nomination of Robert O’Neill for U.S. Attorney in Florida, President Obama said: “Robert O’Neill has shown an unwavering commitment to justice throughout his career.”

On July 14, in nominating four U.S. Marshals, the President said in a press release: “These individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to public service throughout their careers.”

On July 21, the White House issued another press release announcing the nomination of three more U.S. Marshals and President Obama was quoted as saying: “Throughout their careers these individuals have shown a deep commitment to public service.” On Aug. 4, in announcing three more U.S. Marshals, the President said: “Throughout their careers, these dedicated law enforcement professionals have shown an unwavering commitment to public service.”

Get the point?

In other words, the White House just loads the press releases with boilerplate quotes that are in all likelihood written by someone else. In fact, don’t be surprised if the president never saw — let alone uttered those words before they went into the release, media experts say.

Reporters see the quotes as nothing more than boilerplate quotes, quotes to be ignored. They seldom end up in print or on the air unless there’s a need to fill some space.

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

NBC's Michael Isikoff/ meet the press photo

“These are pretty much assembly line press releases churned out by some junior staffer toiling in the white house boiler room,” says Washington investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, formerly of Newsweek and now of NBC News.

The quotes, he said,  “generally go to the delete pile.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Don Goldberg, a former Clinton White House staff member and former investigative reporter for the late columnist Jack Anderson, said the boiler plate language is meant more for the families and relatives  to see.

Goldberg, a partner in Qorvis, a Washington corporate communications firm, said it’s likely someone on a lower level makes up some of the quotes and gets approval from someone higher up in the communication department.

After that, he said, ” they probably have a standard quote they use over and over again. The notion that they would spend time with the president or even the chief of staff on this, it’s just not what they do.”