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Tag: U.S. Attorney

LA Times Editorial: The Inescapable Politics of Selecting U.S. Attys

Sen. Leahy meets with Eric Holder before confirmation (left)/official photo

Sen. Leahy meets with Eric Holder before Holder confirmation (left)/official photo

Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page

During the uproar over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration, an ordinary citizen could be excused for thinking that Democrats opposed any role for partisan politics in the operation of the Justice Department.

That naive notion has been dispelled as President Obama moves to install his own appointees as chief federal prosecutors.

It doesn’t follow that Obama and Eric H. Holder Jr.will countenance the abuses that occurred in the Bush Justice Department, some of which are under criminal investigation. But it demonstrates that, regardless of which party is in power, U.S. attorneys will not be chosen by merit alone.

To Read More

Other U.S. Atty. News

N.C. U.S. Atty’s Probe into Dems May Be Keeping Him on Board

After the mess with the U.S. Attorney firings under the Bush administration, the Dems are reluctant to make it look as if they’re interfering with Justice. That’s good for U.S. Attorney George Holding who’s investigating some high profile Dems. If it weren’t for that, he might have been gone already.

U.S. Atty. George Holding

U.S. Atty. George Holding

By The Associated Press
BEAUFORT, N.C. – Having swapped his hip-holstered Blackberry for fishing pliers, the U.S. attorney for eastern North Carolina watches closely from the captain’s chair aboard the 45-foot “Jolly Mon” as his crew prepares for a day on the water.

The team scans satellite images, examines water temperatures, sharpens hooks, packs reels and tests rods.

“If you get a big fish on here,” George Holding says from his perch, “you don’t want anything to go wrong.”

He might as well be talking about his day job.

A Republican appointee left in charge for an unusually long time by a Democratic White House, Holding has planned investigations into some of the state’s top political figures, including two-time presidential candidate John Edwards and former Gov. Mike Easley and his wife.

For Full Story

Ex-Cleveland U.S. Atty. Defends Rogue DEA Agent in Court

The real question here is: Is Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White being a stand up guy or simply covering up for the mistakes his office made?

Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White/doj photo

Ex-U.S. Atty. Greg White/doj photo

By John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer Reporter
CLEVELAND, Ohio — In a rare move, former U.S. Attorney Greg White took the witness stand Monday, July 13, defending the credibility of indicted federal drug agent Lee Lucas.

White, now a U.S. magistrate, said federal prosecutors feared Lucas, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, worked too many cases too quickly and failed to document his work properly. But White stressed that his office never worried about Lucas’ truthfulness, as defense attorneys contend.

“The consensus was that he was trying to do too much, too fast,” White said.

A prosecutor in White’s office, Ronald Bakeman, agreed: “[Lucas] was running at 150 mph.”

The hearing offered a glimpse into how White ran the federal office and handled a controversial agent who snagged major drug dealers while fighting credibility issues.

In May, Lucas was charged in an 18-count indictment involving a 2005 drug probe in Mansfield. The indictment says Lucas oversaw informant Jerrell Bray as he made 15 undercover sales over two months. But 13 of the deals were bogus, leading to trumped-up charges against 17 people. Bray lied and misidentified drug dealers. Lucas, the indictment says, concealed information about Bray from prosecutors and lied at trials.

For Full Story

Pres. Obama Nominates 6 U.S. Attys. Including Son of Sen. And 1st Woman U.S. Atty. in Hawaii

Ohio nominee Steven Dettelbach
Ohio nominee Steven Dettelbach

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Friday announced nominees for six U.S. Attorney posts. The nominees included the first woman U.S. Attorney in Hawaii and the son of a state senator in South Dakota.

In Hawaii, the president nominated Florence T. Nakakuni, 57, an assistant U.S. Attorney in Hawaii for the past 24 years, according to the White House. She currently heads the Drug and Organized Crime Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In South Dakata, Brendan Johnson, 34, the son of Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) was nominated. The Associated Press reported Friday night that the senator, who has served since 1997, said he did not take part in the nomination process. Brendan Johnson is a partner in the law firm of John, Heidepriem, Abdallah and Johnson in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“My father said,” Don’t consult me. Don’t update me. I’m not going to be involved in the process,” AP quoted the son as saying back in January.

The AP quoted the Senator who issued a statement saying” “While I stepped back from his nomination process so it would remain unbiased as a father and a lawyer. I’m very proud of Brendan.”

Other nominees, according to a White House Press release include:
Arizona: Dennis Burke, 46, a senior advisor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.

Northern District of Ohio: Steven Dettelbach, 43, a partner with Baker & Hostettler in Cleveland .

Alaska: Karen Loeffler, 52, an Assistant United States Attorney for Alaska for 20 years and current the interim U.S. Attorney.

Southern District of Ohio: Carter M. Stewart, 40, a lawyer at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, Ohio.

Read More Details in White House Press Release

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Atty. Drops Charges Against D.C.’s Marion Barry

Baltimore U.S. Atty. Hires 3 Prosecutors to Work Exclusively on Gangs

baltimoreBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore announced Monday that it has hired three new prosecutors to focus exclusively on gangs in a community that has seen the presence of such groups as MS-13, TTP Bloods and the Black Guerilla Family.

“A record number of federal prosecutors are now pursuing cases against violent criminals, and the volume of federal violent crime prosecutions continues to increase,” said U.S. Atty. Rod Rosenstein in a prepared statement. “The new gang prosecutors will allow us to devote even more resources to joint efforts with our local, state and federal partners to put dangerous gangs out of business.”

The U.S. Attorneys office said the new gang unit will be funded for an initial two-year term.

The new gang prosecutors include: Clinton Fuchs, Thiru Vignarajah and William Moomau.

Fuchs served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles and Richard J. Leon before joining a private law firm. Moomau was previously chief of the Homicide Unit of Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office. And Vagnarajah served as a law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Guido Calabresi and Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer before joining a law firm.

Detroit U.S. Atty. Berg Defends Time it Took to Charge Council Member Monica Conyers

U.S. Atty. Terrence Berg/doj photo
U.S. Atty. Terrence Berg/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
For the past several years, the FBI and U.S. Attorney had been probing political corruption in Detroit City Hall, but no indictments came, just reports in the press that something was percolating.

What did come were plenty complaints from the community that the feds were dragging their feet, and that it was hurting the city.

In March, Adolph Mongo, a Detroit political consultant and former aide to the late mayor Coleman A. Young, told the Detroit Free Press: “There’s a cloud over this city.”

“Whatever’s going to happen should have happened. People just want the shoe to drop.”

On Friday, the first shoe dropped when city council member Monica Conyers pleaded guilty to taking bribes in connection with a city sludge hauling contract. No more council members will be charged in connection with that contract.

But more public corruption indictments are expected later this year. Word is those indictments could come by October, according to sources.

Feeling the pressure to defend federal authorities for taking so long to come up with the first set of charges, U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg issued a statement on Friday:

“This investigation took just under two years from the time we first discovered the possibility of misconduct by Ms. Conyers until her plea of guilty today.

“This may seem like a long time to people who are not familiar with the complexity and difficulties of federal public corruption investigations, but the citizens of Detroit and of the whole Eastern District of Michigan deserved a thorough and fair investigation that would lead to a successful outcome.”

Feds Says it Could Take Several Years to Locate, Liquidate and Distribute Madoff’s Assets

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s likely to take several years before the government and the trustee
Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

locate, liquidate and distribute swindler Bernie Madoff’s assets, according to a U.S. Attorney motion filed  Friday morning.

“Given the size and scope of the defendant’s fraud, the efforts of the Government and the SIPA (Security Investment Protection Act) Trustee to recover assets, liquidate them if necessary, and distribute them to victims, are expected to continue for several years,” according to U.S. Attorney motion filed Friday morning.

The motion, filed by assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa A. Baroni and Marc Litt, asked that the judge go forward with the June 29 sentencing and requested 90 more days to “determine whether restitution by Court-ordered schedule is practicable, and if so, the contents of such schedule.”

“While the government and SIPA Trustee have sought to identify as many victims as possible as well as precise loss, we will not have identified each victim of the Madoff fraud or ascertained the precise losses of each identified victim as” of the June 29 sentencing date, the govenrment wrote.

Read Government’s Motion on Assets