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Archive for October 6th, 2008

FBI Finds Dog Bones In N.Y. Hunt For Mob Bodies

The thing about digs, once you start you can’t stop. So far, FBI agents hunting for mob bodies have come up with dog bones. The search continues today.

By Robert E. Kessler and Zachary R. Dowdy
Newsday
EAST FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — FBI agents unearthed yesterday what first appeared to be human bones at a location in East Farmingdale where an informant has told authorities that the bodies of three people – all victims of mob-related violence over the years – are buried, sources said.
But after further examination by the New York City medical examiner’s office, it was determined that the bones were canine, not human, and the digging shut down for the day at sundown. It will resume today.
An FBI agent on the scene declined to comment on yesterday’s findings.
For days, agents wearing plastic suits and gloves have been sifting through mounds of dirt as a backhoe bores through the ground at Del Drive and Baiting Place Road, one of three sites where Joseph Competiello told police the bodies of three people killed by members of the Colombo crime family are buried.
For Full Story

Uniformed Secret Service Officer Injured Near White House

The thing about living in a house called the White House is that you never know who’s going to stop by.

By Elissa Silverman and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — An officer in the uniformed division of the Secret Service was injured yesterday in a scuffle with an apparent intruder at the edge of the White House complex, a Secret Service spokesman said.
An unarmed man, identified as a 37-year-old Prince George’s County resident, was taken into custody, and he and the officer were taken to the hospital for treatment of what appeared to be minor injuries, according to the Secret Service.

For Full Story

Steven’s Atty. Accuses Feds of “Intentional” Misconduct

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Attorneys for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens filed a stinging motion Sunday in federal court accusing the government of “intentional”  and “shocking”  misconduct, and asked that the public corruption case be dismissed.
The motion, filed by defense attorney Brendan V. Sullivan Jr., accused the government of intentionally withholding key evidence favorable to Stevens that was supposed to be turned over to the defense. The Senator is accused of failing to report about $250,000 in gifts and free labor.
Last week, the Senator’s attorneys  asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan for  a mistrial for withholding certain information from the defense. The judge rejected the request,  but reprimanded the government.
In Sunday’s motion, the defense said it decided to ask for a dismissal  after reviewing material the government turned over this week.
“Until today, defense counsel have refrained from alleging intentional misconduct by the government. We can no longer do so in good conscience,” the motion said.
The motion continued to state: “Here, the government’s repeated, flagrant and intentional misconduct requires the sternest possible remedy of dismissal…. If the court denies Senator Steven’s motion for dismissal, the Court should– at a minimum — grant a mistrial to remedy the government’s flagrant and repeated misconduct, and order an evidentiary hearing to consider dismissal and other sanctions. The trial is broken…”
The Justice Department filed a motion late Sunday that the government has acted in “good faith” and “contrary to all the theatrics and hyperbole from the defense, no one has attempted to hide evidence or hold back any discoverable items.”
Read Defense Motion Oct. 5
Read Government Motion- Oct. 5

UPDATE: The Associated Press reported this morning that the judge has ordered the government to respond to the defense’s allegations by the end of the day. Meanwhile, the trial resumed today.
READ: Stevens Caught On Tape Talking About FBI (AP)

Kiddie Porn Defendant In Pa. Wants Clinical Words Banned

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
In one of the more unusual motions to be filed in a federal court, a lawyer representing a man accused of dealing in kiddie porn has asked that the words “vagina” and “genitalia” be banned from trial.
Attorney Ashish S. Joshi filed the motion last week in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on behalf of his client Patrick Bunty, who is accused of “transporting in foreign commerce six visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct”, according to court documents.
Joshi insisted in the motion that making reference to certain parts of the anatomy would “prejudice the jury, inflame their passions and violate the Defendant’s right to a trial by an impartial jury…”
In his six-page motion, he also referred to a certain segment of the population as “every owner of a vagina and any person who has ever visited a vagina”.
Federal prosecutors have yet to file a response to the Oct. 1 motion.
Read Unusual Brief

Sad Tale of N.O. Federal Judge Only Half The Story

The sad tale of U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous, who has been accused of boozing, gambling and fibbing, is only half the story. His loyal staff is the other half. One even paid his gambling debts.

Judge Thomas Porteous/official photo

Judge Thomas Porteous/official photo

By Richard Rainey
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — When the Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals effectively suspended District Judge Thomas Porteous last month, it quietly shuttered his chambers and laid off his staff of five, including a secretary who played an integral role in the financial history of the disgraced judge.
Rhonda Danos, described in private conversations as fiercely loyal to Porteous, lost a post she held in his front office for 24 years. Beyond the usual trappings of a secretary’s duties, she paid some of Porteous’ gambling and credit card debts and, according to testimony from one witness, delivered money to the judge from lawyers who had a case in his court.
“Tom Porteous says she’s a very fine lady and that he’s had her with him for many years, and he feels terrible that she somehow has been dragged into this,” said Porteous’ attorney, Lewis Unglesby. “And now with the 5th Circuit not even giving her a chance to defend herself, she has to lose her job.”
Porteous has been under investigation for six years, first by the U.S. Justice Department then by the 5th Circuit’s Judicial Council. The Justice Department decided in 2007 not to seek criminal charges, but the Judicial Council and U.S. Judicial Conference subsequently called for him to be impeached. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee formed a 12-member task force in September to consider it.
For Full Story

Can FBI Snitch Deliver in Ft. Dix Conspiracy?

Can Mahmoud A. Omar, a bankrupt, convicted felon who worked undercover for the FBI help the government makes its case in an alleged plot to attack Ft. Dix? Or will he prove to be too much of a con man to give the case credibility? Jury selection was completed last week and opening statements are scheduled later in the month.

wcbstv.com photo

wcbstv.com photo

By George Anastasia
Philadelphia Inquirer
Five years ago, he was a bankrupt felon with a conviction for passing bad checks.
He was facing deportation.
And he was living in a subsidized, low-income apartment complex in Paulsboro, scratching for cash by trying to sell used cars from the complex’s parking lot.
Today he is the central figure in the Fort Dix terrorism trial, an FBI informant who may have received more than $3,000 a month to wear a body wire and record conversations.
Mahmoud A. Omar, whose immigration problems appear to have gone the way of his financial difficulties, spent more than a year working undercover in the case.
While some details about his role have surfaced in pretrial documents, Omar’s actions and motivation will be the focus of what could be the most important testimony in the high-profile trial.

For Full Story

Read Ft. Dix indictment