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Tag: U.S. Attorney

The John Edwards Case Just Didn’t Feel Right

Edwards after the trial/ from NBC newscast

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some federal cases are too complicated for jurors. Some may be borderline illegal. And some may end up being a waste of taxpayer money.

The trial against ex-presidential hopeful John Edwards was probably all of the above.  A jury on Thursday acquitted him on one count and deadlocked on five others in a scandal that involved using nearly $1 million  – in what should have been declared as campaign funds — to help hide an extra-marital affair during the 2008 campaign.

It had a lot of gossip appeal, which made for good press, but in the end it seemed to lack the appropriate outrage quotient necessary to get all the jurors to jump into the guilty pool.

Who’s the loser.

The list is long.

For one, Edwards paid some serious bucks for a top-flight legal team.

Additionally, his reputation, which was already pretty poor, got tarnished even more. If you had any doubts that he was a sleaze, the trial helped put those to rest.

And he had to bear responsibility watching his family suffer through the trial.

 

The Justice Department once again looks bad. Granted, federal prosecutors shouldn’t fear losing. They should just worry about standing on solid ground. Some how, this one didn’t ever feel right to me.

The feds should have gone after some hefty civil fines. Edwards has lots of money. He would have gladly paid to make it go away. Maybe the money could have been put to good use.

And then there’s the former U.S. Attorney George Holding, who stuck around in his post to make sure that Edwards was indicted. He’s running for Congress and is expected to win.

But there’s talk of him jumping into the Senate race in North Carolina in 2014. A conviction of Edwards could only have bolstered his political capital. Now, sorry George, no added points for you.

So at this point, the question is: Should the feds go for a retrial?

I say absolutely not. In a case like this, one bite of the apple is enough. It’s not like the Rod Blagojevich case, which was certainly worth going after a second time after Blago was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts. The feds nailed him the second time.

This one is not worth going after again. Was Edwards a sneak? Yes. Is he a sleaze? Yes.

As the Washington Post noted:

“The mixed result in a trial that laid bare Edwards’s sexual indiscretions and serial deceptions came after nine days of jury deliberations.”

There are bigger crimes out there. And he’s paid  for his digressions. Let’s move on, and let’s forget we knew a Presidential candidate named John Edwards.

He is not worthy.

Israeli Mobsters Extradited to US Plead Guilty

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes being a ‘friend of Israel’ means sharing criminals.

Three Israeli mobsters were extradited to the U.S. in January 2011 in the first extradition of its kind under Israel’s racketeering law, which parallels RICO, the U.S. law targeting organized crime. Two of the three pled guilty to a host of drug and murder charges in U.S. District court, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced in a press release Monday.

Charges against Itzhak Abergil, Israel Ozifa and friends filled a 77-page grand jury indictment in California in 2008. The investigation by the DEA and ICE, in cooperation with the FBI, IRS and LA Police, uncovered crimes including the importing of the club drug ecstasy from Belgium to California and  ordering the murder of Sami Atias execution-style for interfering with a 2003 drug deal.

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5 Gambino Gangsters Plead Guilty to Laundry List of Dirty Deeds

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Racketeering, narcotics trafficking, assault, extortion, murder? Just another day-in-the-life of a Gambino mobster.

Five Gambino wise guys pled guilty this week to a range of nefarious charges, announced Preet Bharara, NY U.S Attorney in Manhattan.

Working as “soldiers” and “associates” of the Gambino crime family, Vincenzo Frogiero, Todd Labarca, John Brancaccio, Christopher Reynolds, and Sean Dunn earned millions for the Gambinos by trafficking hundreds of kilos of cocaine and marijuana, and thousands of ecstasy and vicodin pills through operations based in Queens over the past 30 years.

Labarca also pled guilty to conspiracy to murder fellow gangster Martin Bosshart in a 2002 turf war, after Bosshart made a power grab in the Gambino’s marijuana import operation. Bosshart was found shot point blank in the back of the head for his ambitions.

The 5 will face similar fates in their July sentencing as a couple dozen other Gambino members and associates snared by the FBI recently as part of a nationwide takedown of organized crime.

According to Bharara, “The laundry list of illegal conduct to which LaBarca and these four other defendants pled serves as a reminder of the scourge that is organized crime and that our efforts to root it out will continue unabated.”

To read more click here.

 

Ex-Interim U.S. Atty in Detroit Gets Nomination for Fed Judgeship

Terrance Berg/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Former interim U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg, who lost out in his bid to become the permanent U.S. Attorney in Detroit under the Obama administration, has gotten a nice consolation prize.

On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Berg, 52, for a federal judgeship, the Detroit News reported.

The nomination was first reported by the Detroit News.

“The president has made an outstanding choice in nominating Terry Berg to the federal district court bench. He is hard-working, courteous, unflappable and smart — all important qualities for a judge,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told the News. McQuade ended up getting the job as U.S. Attorney instead of Berg.

 

Jersey City Politician’s Corruption Charges Dropped, but No Go for Reimbursements

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

You can see why former Jersey City assemblyman Louis Manzo thought he might try his luck once more. But this time the only luck he had was bad luck.

The Jersey Journal reports that Manzo lost his bid for reimbursement of $150k worth of legal fees paid over the course of a drawn-out corruption case. A federal judge threw the case out. Twice.

Battling it out with the U.S. Attorney’s Office since his 2009 arrest, according to the Jersey Journal, Manzo slipped free from the massive corruption and money-laundering probe that put a host of other Hudson County politicos behind bars.

In his ruling, the same judge who threw out Manzo’s second indictment, Judge Jose Linares, ruled that Manzo wouldn’t see a dime in reimbursements because the government case against him “was not groundless or without any legal merit” as Manzo tried to prove in court.

To read more click here.

 

Long-Time U.S. Atty. Spokesman Patrick Crosby Departs to Start PR and Media Consulting Firm

Patrick Crosby

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Patrick Crosby, the quick-witted press spokesman and long-time fixture in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, is moving on. He had been with the office for 15 years.

Crosby, a former investigative reporter and anchorman, has opened a media and public relations service called GeorgiaNewsmakers.com. While in the media, he won two  Emmys and a national Telly.

“For Georgia’s legal community, business and other independents, why is someone else making headlines, or used as an expert source and not you?,” his website says. “Have you had true media training from a true professional and not someone who happens to have some peripheral experience and works for a PR firm?”

“It is your opportunity to play to your strengths, exhibit your expertise, and have the opportunity to be a public figure expert, case study, feature, or participant in the mainstream, in the media, print, broadcast, narrowcast, specialty media, social media, and community events, all arranged for you, and written for you as well,” the site says.

 

Column: Detroit U.S. Atty McQuade: “We Cannot Allow Detroit to be Defined by Homicide and Violence”

U.S. Attorney McQuade

Barbara McQuade has been the U.S. Attorney in Detroit since January 2010.
 
By Barbara L. McQuade
Detroit Free Press Guest Writer

DETROIT — As the Free Press’ “Living with Murder” series has vividly illustrated, reducing homicide and violent crime in Detroit is essential to improving our quality of life. Even those who live outside the city should be concerned about crime in Detroit, because it affects the success of our region and our state. We cannot allow Detroit to be defined by homicide and violence.

While law enforcement agencies are working together to arrest and remove dangerous people from our community, long-term solutions to reducing violent crime require thoughtful prevention efforts.

A federal judge in Detroit recently told me that when he imposes a long prison sentence on a violent offender, he wishes he could “rewind the tape” to the point in the defendant’s life before he became involved in crime. Prevention efforts underway in Detroit seek to do just that.

To read more click here.

 

TSA Officer Pleads to Taking Bribes to Let Drugs Pass Through

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A TSA officer based at Palm Beach, Fla. International Airport pleaded guilty Monday to taking bribes to let drugs pass through airport security.

Christopher Allen, 46, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.,  pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Have, Conn.   to taking payments from a drug trafficker to let large amounts of the prescription drug oxycodone pass through airport security. The drugs were destined for Connecticut for illegal sale.

“This defendant received cash payments to violate his oath of public office and look the other way as large quantities of oxycodone pills passed unlawfully through airport security,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein  in a statement. “For obvious reasons, we cannot tolerate corruption within the ranks of those who are entrusted with the responsibility for screening air travelers and their baggage. I commend the DEA Task Force for shutting down a pipeline of highly addictive prescription pills from Florida to Connecticut, and for bringing to justice this federal employee and others who participated in this illegal scheme.”

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