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Tag: U.S. Attorney

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald’s Star Reputation on Line in Blago Trial

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

When he announced the charges in late 2008, Chicago’s U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, came at Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich with all the bravado of Eliot Ness going after Al Capone in the movie “The Untouchables.”

He told a throng of reporters that Blagojevich had embarked on a “corruption crime spree” and added, with a touch of the melodramatic, that the Democratic governor’s crimes “would make Lincoln turn over in his grave.” Blagojevich responded by hitting the talk show circuit, calling the charges unfounded and criticizing Fitzgerald.

Now, 20 months later, Fitzgerald’s bravado and stellar reputation are being tested in the public corruption trial of Blagojevich. After 12 days of jury deliberations, the outcome seems more uncertain than ever.

On Thursday, the jury informed U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel that they had reached agreement on just two of 24 counts, and that they could not reach a decision on 11. To boot, they said they hadn’t even gotten to the other 11 counts of wire fraud. The judge directed them to keep deliberating. The jury took Friday off and returns Monday.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Nabs “Grandad Bandit” in Louisiana; Time to Retire

Grandad Bandit/fbi photo

Grandad Bandit/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Looks like the prolific “Grandad Bandit”, suspected of at least 25 bank robberies in 13 states in less than two years, is retiring involuntarily —  and not to Florida to enjoy the early bird specials.

The FBI said agents arrested the bandit, aka Michael Francis Mara, 52, of Baton Rouge, La., in Baton Rouge on Wednesday following a stand off for hours.

Maria Glod of the Washington Post reported that agents and local police had surrounded a home in Baton Rouge Wednesday morning, and that Mara had a weapon and threatened to harm himself. But he peacefully surrendered by around 4:30 p.m.

“A tip to the FBI made today’s arrest possible,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of Alexandria.

Michael Morehart, special agent in charge of the Richmond office, said in a statement : “This arrest would not have been possible without the assistance of civic-minded citizens and the publicity provided by radio stations and print media and the coordination of digital billboards by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.”

Authorities said Mara “would enter a bank without a disguise, patiently wait in line, and then present a demand note to a bank teller. Once the demands were met, Mara allegedly would retrieve the demand note and exit the bank quietly.”

Engineer Guilty of Selling Military Secrets to China

Honolulu_mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former engineer who worked on the B-2 Stealth bomb was convicted in Honolulu Monday of selling military secrets to China to help that nation develop a stealth cruise missile, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said the engineer, Noshir Gowadia,66, pocketed at least $110,000 from the transactions and used the money to pay the mortgage on a multimillion-dollar ocean-view home on Maui’s north shore, AP reported.

He had been in federal custody since 2005. His lawyers had argued that the materials he gave to China came from unclassified and public information, AP reported.

“Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country’s most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money,” U.S. Attorney David Kris said in a statement.

“Today, he is being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s military secrets for profit.”

ATF Busts Texas Cop for Selling Guns From Evidence Room

texasBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 55-year-old Texas cop had a nice little thing going — that is until he got busted by ATF and the Texas Rangers.

Authorities charged that Harry Leroy Kelly, as a cop with the Cleveland Police Department in Liberty County, Tex., sold guns and ammunition from the evidence room. He is currently a captain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities alleged that Kelly had control over the evidence room and was responsible for destroying items.  As part of his scheme, Kelly drafted papers showing he destroyed firearms, when in fact he had not.

He faces 103 counts of possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm without a serial number, one count of possession of stolen ammunition and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas said.

“Sometime in 2007, Harry Kelly began taking firearms from the evidence room and traded or bartered them to his friend, who in turn gave Harry Kelly credits for the merchandise that Kelly brought, which Kelly used to buy his own firearms for his own firearm business,” U.S. Attorney John M. Bales said, according to TV station KPRC.

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Remembers James K. Robinson as “One of the Finest Lawyers of His Generation”

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Every young lawyer remembers the guy who gave him his first real job. For me and some others, it was a mark of distinction that that guy was Jim Robinson.

His death last Friday from cancer evokes a painful loss but also many happy memories about a man who was one of the finest lawyers of his generation.

Although Jim’s long and successful career as a litigator, public servant, author and teacher included many of the highest achievements available in the legal profession, it was for many of us his term as a 34-year-old U.S. Attorney in Detroit which we remember most fondly.

James K. Robinson

James K. Robinson

During his three-year term from 1977 to 1980, he set a framework for the modern federal prosecutor’s office and inspired dozens of young lawyers along the way.

Jim re-organized and modernized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in ways that are still followed today in this and other districts around the country.

He convinced the Justice Department to let him hire several dozen new lawyers and support staff, and he filled the positions with a diverse group, including women, African Americans and former defense counsel, three groups which had been greatly under-represented.

Read more »

Former Detroit U.S. Atty and Justice Dept. Official James K. Robinson Dead at Age 66

James K. Robinson

James K. Robinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

James K. Robinson, who became the Detroit U.S. Attorney in the late 1970s at age 34, and later became a high-ranking Justice Department official, died Friday at age 66, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

The Grand Rapids native died at his vacation home in Park City, Utah, the Grand Rapids Press reported. He had suffered from gastrointestinal cancer.

Up until the time of his death, he was a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in Washington, the paper reported.

Robinson was dean and a professor at Wayne State University School of Law from  1993 to 1998, the paper reported. He went on to serve as an assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division during the Clinton administration and later returned to private practice.

To read more click here.

D.C. U.S. Atty. Names Vincent Cohen Jr. to #2 Spot

Vincent H. Cohen Jr./law firm photo

Vincent H. Cohen Jr./law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Vincent H. Cohen Jr. has left private practice to return to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington as the number two person, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.  announced Monday.

Cohen, 39, a partner in the D.C. law firm Schertler & Onorato, served as an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1997 to 2003. He worked cases involving bribery and gratuities, embezzlement, false claims, theft of government property, Worker’s Compensation fraud and violent crimes including murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

Cohen also worked on the civil side in the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales Angry About Criminal Probe into U.S. Atty Firings; Bush Congratulated Him On Report