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Tag: Wiretaps

Ex-Phone Co. Worker Convicted of Perjury and Lying to FBI Agents in Connection to Rogue LA Private Detective Pellicano

Anthony Pellicano/youtube

Anthony Pellicano/youtube

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The scandal involving rogue L.A. private detective Anthony Pellicano, who illegally wiretapped some of the Hollywood’s biggest stars like Sylvester Stallone, continues to show life.

A Los Angeles federal jury earlier this week convicted former SBC phone company employee Joann Wiggan, 56, of Burbank, of perjury and lying to FBI agents about information she provided from the company data bases to a former phone employee, Ray Turner. Authorities say Turner used the info to help Pellicano illegally wiretap stars.

In closing arguments, prosecutors alleged that Wiggan, a facilities technician with access to the phone company’s mainframes in Los Angeles, was the person physically connecting the illegal wiretaps at  the direction of  Turner and Pellicano, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In 2006, a federal jury acquitted her on four counts alleging  perjury before a federal grand jury.  A mistrial was declared on the fifth count. Earlier this week, prosecutors tried her on that unresolved fifth count, plus new charges of lying to FBI agents in 2004 and committing perjury during her 2006 trial.

Sentencing is set for Feb. 22.

Pellicano is serving 15 years in prison.

NY Appeals Court Allows Evidence in Questionable Wiretap

Did the Appeals Court in N.Y. rule properly by allowing evidence from a questionable wiretap? It’s certainly questionable.  The lower court said investigators did not do enough to prove a wiretap was warranted.

istock photo

istock photo

By David Kravets
Wired

Despite refusing to “endorse” the government’s tactics in securing a warrant for a wiretap, a federal appeals court is ruling that authorities could use the fruits of their questionable eavesdropping in prosecuting an alleged drug dealer.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower-court judge who last year suppressed the 50 grams of crack cocaine that was evidence in the case against a man originally suspected of plotting terrorism against the United States.

The lower court said a magistrate judge erroneously issued the warrant, breaching the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which was designed to strike a balance between law enforcement and “the privacy rights of the individual.”

For Full Story

Read Court Ruling

Calif. Judge Upholds Immunity for Phone Companies in Gov. Wiretaps

attThis case isn’t over yet. Lawyers representing customers have vowed to appeal the ruling. Privacy is a hot button issue and will continue to be one as we try to strike a balance between privacy and our security needs.

Bob Egelko
San Franciso Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday upheld an immunity law for telecommunications companies and dismissed dozens of lawsuits by customers who accused AT&T and other carriers of collaborating in illegal government wiretapping.

The law, pushed through Congress last year by President George W. Bush, validly authorized the attorney general to protect phone companies from liability without having to publicly disclose whether a company had actually allowed the government to eavesdrop on its customers, said Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco.

For Full Story

Obama Administration Defends Bush Wiretaps

at-tNow this is when it all gets interesting.  The Obama administration has advocated transparency and has been critical of the Bush administration trampling on constitutional rights. Now it is defending the Bush regime’s actions. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the court of public opinion.

By Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration’s wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records.Disclosure of information sought by the customers, “which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security,” Justice Department lawyers said in papers filed Friday in San Francisco.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a lawyer for the customers, said Monday the filing was disappointing in light of the Obama presidential campaign’s “unceasing criticism of Bush-era secrecy and promise for more transparency.”

In a 2006 lawsuit, the AT&T plaintiffs accused the company of allowing the National Security Agency to intercept calls and e-mails and inspect records of millions of customers without warrants or evidence of wrongdoing.

For Full Story

Breaking News: Ill. Senate Hears FBI Tapes in Blago Impeachment Trial

The Gov. Blago affair goes back and forth between highly entertaining and highly pathetic. And even if he’s removed from office, the show will go on. The man is an entertainer.

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

Fox News posts Blago-Meter

BY DAVE MCKINNEY, NATASHA KORECKI and CHRIS FUSCO
Chicago Sun-Times
SPRINGFIELD – Wiretaps of Gov. Blagojevich’s home phone and his former chief of staff’s cell phone allowed the world to hear for the first time this afternoon Blagojevich’s own voice allegedly discussing a shakedown of a potential campaign contributor.
Lon Monk, now a lobbyist, says on one of the tapes he got in the “face” of the potential contributor, horse racing executive John Johnston.
“I’m telling you, he’s gonna be good for it. I got in his face,” Monk tells the governor during a 9:09 a.m. call on Dec. 4, 2008.
Anticipation built in the moments before tapes were played for the first time in the Senate trial. The chamber grew quiet.
As senators listened to the four brief conversations, one senator chewed on his pen and looked ahead. Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora), smiled and shook his head as he heard the governor’s brother, Robert, tell Blagojevich that Johnston was “good for it” – an apparent reference to a $100,000 campaign contribution.

For Full Story

FBI Tape 1Transcript
FBI Tape 2Transcript
FBI Tape 3Transcript
FBI Tape 4Transcript

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI May Have Recorded Up to 50 Conversations Between Gov. Blagojevich and Brother

It appears Gov. Rod Blagojevich isn’t the only family member facing more embarrassing moments. The FBI apparently recorded dozens of conversations between the Gov and his brother Robert.

BY NATASHA KORECKI
Chicago Sun-Times
Gov. Blagojevich

Gov. Blagojevich

CHICAGO — The governor’s brother, Robert Blagojevich, now says he was probably caught on secret government wiretaps as many as 50 times.
In a court filing today, his lawyer Michael Ettinger said he might seek to have all of those secret tapes kept out of court but needs more information before he decides to do so.
Prosecutors have sought to make one of the recordings involving Robert Blagojevich public at the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of his brother, Gov. Blagojevich. Ettinger and Ed Genson, one of the governor’s lawyers, oppose their release and have said they might seek to suppress all of the secret recordings.
A judge had asked to hear the reasons for throwing out the recordings before deciding whether to release some of them for the impeachment trial.
For Full Story
OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mobster John Gotti Jr. Wants Out on Bail; Motion Says He Quit Mob Years Ago

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

John Gotti Jr./trutv.com

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for John Gotti Jr. filed a motion Monday saying their client quit the mob years ago and deserves to be free on bail pending trial in New York on allegations of cocaine trafficking, murder, extortion, jury tampering and kidnapping.
The 14-page motion filed in U.S. District Court said Gotti is not threat to the community and the government has ignored its own evidence on wiretaps which show “Gotti had in fact withdrawn from his former life”.
The motion, filed by attorneys Charles Carnesi and Seth Ginsberg, cites a  February 2004 government wiretap in which Gotti tells someone that he’s done with the mob.
“I’m a nobody,” Gotti says. ” I walked away from this six and half years ago. I’ve been doing nothing for six and a half years. I’ve been stranded on an island by myself.”
The motion also notes that there is no evidence, contrary to the government’s charges, that Gotti was involved in three murders between 1998 and 1991.
In other motions filed Monday, the government noted that it had a key informant John Alite, Gotti’s right hand man,  who along with others, provided solid information that lead to the Aug. 2008 indictment.
Gotti was arrested Aug. 5, 2008 at his Long Island home.

Read Gotti’s Motion

Feds Had More Wiretaps Than Previously Disclosed in Gov. Blagojevich Probe

state photo

This scandal may end up having more legs than a centipede.

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND DAVE MCKINNEY
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — Federal authorities had more wiretaps than previously disclosed in the investigation of Gov. Blagojevich — including the cellular telephone of a member the governor’s inner circle.
A new government filing in federal court indicates that in November, authorities tapped the cell phone of “Lobbyist 1.” The Sun-Times has identified lobbyist 1 as Lon Monk, the governor’s first-term chief of staff. Monk later became a fund-raiser and state lobbyist.
The revelation that investigators captured more on secret recordings than previously disclosed, came as federal prosecutors seek to release portions of those recordings to a House Committee seeking the governor’s impeachment.
Prosecutors are asking Chief U.S. District Judge James Holderman to release portions of four recordings having to do with the governor’s alleged discussion of asking for campaign contributions in exchange for his official actions. Prosecutors will go before Holderman today to discuss the motion.
“These calls bear on a discrete episode of criminal conduct alleged in the complaint affidavit … the calls are evidence of a criminal offense that the government was authorized to monitor under the wiretap order,” prosecutors wrote in their filing.
For Full Story

See Records of Fed Subpoenas Released