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Archive for September 24th, 2008

Physicist Arrested for Illegal Export Of Space Launch Data To China

NORFOLK, Va. — A physicist was arrested Wednesday on charges of offering bribes and illegally exporting space launch technical data and services to the People’s Republic of China, the Justice Department said.

Shu Quan-Sheng, 68, a native of China and a naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested by FBI agents in Newport News, Va., authorities said. Quan-Sheng is the head of AMAC International, a high-tech company in Newport News, which has an office in Beijing.

Rep. Jefferson Argues To Throw Out Charges in Case

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

It’s been more than three years since FBI agents raided Rep. William J. Jefferson’s homes in New Orleans and Washington and found the famous $90,000 in the freezer. The case has still not gone to trial and Wednesday his lawyers argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals that most of the charges should be thrown out.

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
RICHMOND, Va. – Testimony before a federal grand jury about Rep. William Jefferson’s role in passing an African trade bill and the influence it gave him with African leaders violated a separation of powers clause in the Constitution and requires that 14 of 16 criminal charges against the congressman be thrown out, his attorney argued Tuesday.
Attorney Robert Trout told a three-judge appeals panel that the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution is “absolute,” and intended to ensure that the legislative branch is “independent” and a “co-equal” branch with the executive.
But some of the judges, through their questioning, seemed skeptical about Trout’s remedy – dismissal of all the bribery-related charges in the 16-count indictment.
For Full Story

Anthrax Suspect Had His Lab Access Revoked

Anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins

Anthrax suspect Bruce Ivins

More information is surfacing about the behavior of anthrax suspect Bruce E. Ivins, who committed suicide before the government could move forward with its case. The FBI has released new documents in the case.

By David Dishneau
Associated Press
HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Anthrax mailing suspect Bruce E. Ivins’ access to Army biodefense laboratories was revoked in March after he spilled anthrax on his pants and went home to wash them instead of immediately reporting the accident, according to an Army report.
The accident occurred March 17 at Fort Detrick while the microbiologist, who died of an apparent suicide July 29, was working with the relatively mild strain of anthrax used for vaccinating livestock.
For Full Story

Other Related Stories:

Anthrax Suspect Mailed Himself About Solving The Case (Washington Post)

Ivins Bragged He Knew Anthrax Killer (AP)

See Latest FBI Documents On Case

Jury Picked in Sen. Ted Steven’s Corruption Trial

Sen. Steven/official photo

Sen. Steven/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The slow, methodical and sometimes painful process of picking a jury in the political corruption trial of Sen. Ted Stevens wrapped up Wednesday.
During the first two days of jury selection, some prospective jurors said they simply felt Stevens was guilty. One Christian Scientist said her religion precluded her from judging others.
Still, after the two days, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had managed to identify about 30 potential jurors who said they could be open minded. By about 1 p.m. Wednesday, 16 jurors — 12 regular and four alternates –had been selected.
Opening statements are set to begin Thursday at 9:30 a.m.
After jury selection, Judge Sullivan emphasized  to attorneys that he wanted to accommodate Sen. Stevens and complete the trial before the November elections. Stevens, a 40-year veteran of the Senate, is running for re-election.
The case is the latest attraction — or distraction —  in Washington. Press interest is high. In fact, an overflow room for reporters who can’t fit into the courtroom is expected to be packed, at least the first day or two of trial.
And during the course of the trial, a number of Washington insiders — including former Sec. of State Colin Powell and Sen. Ted Kennedy — may appear as witnesses.
Stevens, 84, a powerful Republican from Alaska, is charged with knowingly failing to disclose about $250,000 in gifts and services.

Man With Ties To Taliban Convicted in Heroin Trial

By Benjamin Weiser
New York Times
NEW YORK – A federal jury in Manhattan found an Afghan tribal leader guilty on Tuesday of taking part in an international narcotics trafficking conspiracy that sent millions of dollars worth of heroin around the world, including into the United States.
The jury deliberated for about three hours before returning its verdict against Haji Bashir Noorzai, whose case drew widespread attention because of his prominent role in the drug trade and his ties to one of the most wanted men in the world, Mullah Mohammad Omar, the fugitive Taliban leader.
”You have seen the defendant for what he is,” a federal prosecutor, David A. O’Neil, told the jury in closing arguments on Monday, ”a drug dealer on a massive scale, a global heroin trafficker driven by greed for money and for power, a man who has made himself rich off the misery of others.”
For Full Story

Here Comes The Latest Turn In Detroit’s City Hall Probe

The scandal-ridden city of Detroit is still reeling from the latest chapter involving its disgraced mayor. Now stepping up to center stage is the public corruption probe into city hall. 

Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — A second former director of Detroit’s Cobo Center has been charged with a federal felony in connection with a City Hall corruption investigation.
Glenn Blanton, 47, was charged last week with falsifying documents to obstruct an investigation.
In November of 2005, Blanton allegedly wrote three checks totaling $15,000 to former Cobo contractor Karl Kado, who at one time held all or part of the electrical, janitorial, catering and retail contracts at Cobo.
The checks purported to be a $15,000 loan repayment to the contractor when, in fact, this money had been given to the defendant by the contractor as a bribe payment and not a loan,” charging documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit allege.
For Full Story

Death: Legendary Federal Judge Harold “Barefoot” Sanders.

 Harold “Barefoot” Sanders, a legendary U.S. District Court judge in Texas, died Sunday in Dallas. He was 83.

 He worked for the Justice Department and later served as a federal judge for 28 years, overseeing the desegration of Dallas schools. The New York Times reported that he was a few cars behind President Kennedy’s motorcade in 1963 and “delivered a federal judge, Sarah T. Hughes, to swear in Johnson as president on Air Force One.”

Obituary (NYT)

Politico Wants A Probe of Anthrax Probe

Rep. Holt/official photo
Rep. Holt/official photo

The FBI is convinced that scientist Bruce E. Ivins was the man behind the deadly anthrax attacks in 2001. But some Congressional types aren’t convinced and want to probe the probe.
By SCOTT SHANE
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Congressional critics of the F.B.I.’s anthrax investigation are seeking an independent review of the seven-year inquiry to assess the bureau’s performance and its conclusion that an Army scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, carried out the 2001 attacks alone.                                                                                               
One proposal, in a bill drafted by Representative Rush D. Holt, Democrat of New Jersey, would create a national commission on the anthrax attacks, a scaled-down version of the commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Two Republican senators, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, said they would not rule out a commission but thought a Congressional investigation or a series of hearings might work.
For Full Story