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Archive for October 10th, 2008

State Senator In Louisiana Pleads Guilty

Derrick Shepherd, who tried unsuccessfully to unseat Rep. William Jefferson in the last election, could be off to prison. But he could have some info for the feds that could mean more trouble for indicted Rep. William J. Jefferson.

Sen. Shepherd/senate photo

Sen. Shepherd/senate photo

By Paul Rioux
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Derrick Shepherd pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering this morning in federal court, a sharp turnaround for a feisty and defiant public official who last year accused the government of pursuing an indictment against him after he refused to give them dirt on other elected officials.
The Marrero Democrat also resigned his Senate seat and agreed to cooperate with authorities.
A humbled and apologetic Shepherd stood with his hands tightly clasped behind his back. He could get up to 20 years in federal prison.
“I hope I have a chance to make it right,” he told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.
For Full Story

Read Shepherd Plea Agreement

Other New Orleans stories:

Delay Likely In Rep. William Jefferson Trial


Colin Powell Vows For Sen. Steven’s Honesty

Sen. Ted Stevens is bringing in the heavy artillery. The latest: testimony from Colin Powell.

By Erika Bolstad and Richard Mauer
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON – One of the nation’s best-known retired Army generals, Colin Powell, described Sen. Ted Stevens in court today as a “trusted individual” and a man with a “sterling” reputation.
“He was someone whose word you could rely on,” said Powell, secretary of state in President Bush’s first term, who self-deprecatingly described himself as someone who retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then “dabbled a bit in diplomacy.”
Stevens, on trial for lying about gifts on financial disclosure forms, has the right to ask character witnesses to speak on behalf of his “truthfulness and veracity.” The first such character witness, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, spoke Thursday. Another three are set to testify on Stevens’ behalf, but the highest-profile witness, by far, will be Powell.
For Full Story

See All Government Trial Exhibits

Recorded Talk In Violent Brooklyn Case Echo the Sopranos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
In a case out of the Sopranos, the FBI used tape recordings and informants to bust five guys for “conspiring to obstruct” a federal civil lawsuit in Brooklyn.
A criminal complaint, unsealed last week, said the civil lawsuit forced Keystone Renovations Corp. to pay a prevailing wage to employees. The company tried to retaliate against the workers who filed the suit, the government alleged.
In 2006, some of the defendants paid $15,000 to have someone throw acid on a female companion of one of the people who filed the the lawsuit, the charging papers alleged. She suffered first and second-degree burns.
Later the defendants agreed to pay $25,000 for each victim that was beaten, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged.
“Just give them a f— beating, legs…whatever they can, it would be the best thing,” one defendant told an informant who was recording the conversation. “It would be the best punishment, right?”
(For more on the recorded conversations and allegations,  read the criminal complaint, FBI affidavit and the prosecutions’ letter to the judge.)

Read Criminal Complaint/FBI Affidavit

Read Prosecutor’s Letter To Judge

Under the Ooops Category: New Orleans Cop Off To Prison

NEW ORLEANS –Donald Battiste, a former New Orleans Police Officer was sentenced last week in federal court here to 4 years and 9 months in prison for civil rights violations in connection with the beating and robbery of a man he thought was an itinerant worker, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. It ended up the worker was an undercover cop working a sting operation.

Battiste admitted that in October 2006, while on duty, he robbed and beat the person, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The incident was captured on video tape.

Kansas U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren Steps Down

U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren/wibw.com photo

U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren/wibw.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
As we prepare to usher in a new administration, U.S. Attorneys are heading for safer ground.
The latest is U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren in Wichita, Ks., who stepped down this week to be sworn in as Kansas’ newest federal district judge, the Justice Department announced. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marietta Parker will become the Acting U.S. Attorney in the District of Kansas.
Melgren spent 6 1/2 years as the U.S. Attorney and came from the Wichita law firm of Foulston Siefkin LLP, the Justice Department said.
“The past almost seven years as U.S. Attorney have been a great honor and a personal delight,” Melgren said in a prepared statement. “I am proud to have been associated with the important work of the Department of Justice and with the outstanding professional staff of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Kansas and our colleagues across the country.”
Earlier this week, Chuck Rosenberg, the U.S. Attorney in Alexandria, Va., announced his resignation.

DEA Busts Drug Cells That Distributed For Mexican Cartel

The DEA  and other law enforcement agencies busted up a number of cells that distributed drugs for a huge Mexican cartel.
By Greg Moran
San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN DIEGO – Federal authorities on Wednesday announced the indictments of 35 members of a half-dozen drug-trafficking cells that shuttled drugs north and cash south through Imperial County.
The indictments focused on six distribution cells that ran drugs for a Mexican organization known as the Sinaloa cartel, U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt said at a news conference.
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Led by Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, the Sinaloa cartel is believed to be one of the groups currently locked in a bloody gang war with the weakening Arellano Felix cartel for dominance in Tijuana.
For Full Story

Read One Of The Indictments In The Case