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Archive for October 13th, 2008

Philly Balks On Rubbing Out Organized Crime Strike Force

Well, there’s good news for the prosecutors and bad news for the mob. For the prosecutors, this calls for a cheesesteak at Pat’s.

By Kitty Caparella
Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — Recently there’s been more intrigue about the fate of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force than about mob plots in Philadelphia.
Well, the strike force has dodged a bullet, sort of.
Officials of the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday that strike-force prosecutors would be devoted to organized crime – La Cosa Nostra and emerging ethnic groups from Russia, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere.
They will not be interchangeable with drug prosecutors, officials said.
For Full Story

Ex-Prosecutor In Ayers Case Defends Obama

Presidential races have their odd twists and turns. Now comes the latest: the prosecutor in the Bill Ayers case.

By Gale Holland
Los Angeles Times
One of the more unusual voices to emerge in the clamor over the character attacks in the presidential race belongs to William C. Ibershof, a former federal prosecutor who now lives near San Francisco.
In 1973, Ibershof tried to put William Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground, in prison for an alleged conspiracy to bomb political targets. Ayers, now an education professor in Chicago, has become a fixture in John McCain’s attempt to raise doubts about Barack Obama.
Obama mets Ayers when the former radical hosted an event to introduce Obama at the start of his political career. The two have served together on boards, but are not close.
“It seemed manifestly unfair to tar him with this association,” Ibershof said in a telephone interview this weekend from his home in Mill Valley.”Sen. Obama had known Ayers during a period he was named Citizen of the Year in Chicago, not when he was committing those terrorist acts.”
For Full Story

Read Ex-Prosecutor’s Letter To The N.Y. Times

Feds Want To Give Eco-Terrorist A Big Break

He may not be William Ayers, buy the feds want to give eco-terrorist Frank Ambrose a break for cooperating.

By Ed White
The Associated Press
DETROIT — Federal prosecutors are seeking a major sentencing break for an activist who committed arson at Michigan State University, publicly acknowledging for the first time his wide-ranging undercover role in investigations of eco-terrorism.
Frank Ambrose of Detroit recorded 178 conversations with other targets, putting himself at risk as he traveled out of state to help the FBI, the government said.
His cooperation “has been nothing short of remarkable, both in terms of the time and effort he put into it and in terms of its value to federal law enforcement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen Frank said in a court filing Friday.
For Full Story

Read Prosecutor’s Motion

Defense Wants Terrorism Charges in Dallas Tossed

The defense in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial wants a judge to toss out terrorism charges. The judge should rule by tomorrow. Up in Washington, the defense in the Sen. Ted Stevens trial asked repeatedly for the judge to dismiss the case, but failed.

Judge Jorge Solis

Judge Jorge Solis

By Jason Trahan
Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Attorneys for a defendant in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case asked a federal judge Wednesday to dismiss the charges against their client because they say FBI testimony tainted the jury by treading too closely to his prior convictions.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis is expected to rule on whether to drop the case against Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land’s former board chairman and co-founder, on double-jeopardy grounds by Tuesday, when the trial resumes after Monday’s federal holiday for Columbus Day.
For Full Story

Read Defense Motion

ICE Detains Jose Canseco at Border For Fertility Drug

Former baseball star Jose Canseco was detained at the border for attempting too bring a fertility drug in from Mexico. He wasn’t charged, but it triggered an investigation. It’s unclear what will happen next.

Canseco on Letterman

Canseco on Letterman

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jose Canseco was held for nearly 10 hours by immigration authorities after agents said they stopped the former baseball star as he attempted to bring a fertility drug from Mexico, his lawyer said Friday.
Canceco was detained at San Diego’s San Ysidro border crossing Thursday after agents searched his vehicle and said they found human chorionic gonadotropin, which is illegal without a prescription, said his attorney, Gregory Emerson.
Emerson declined to say if Canseco — who admitted to using steroids in a 2005 book that also alleged steroid use by other baseball players — had the drug, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for use in males. The drug helps restore production of testosterone lost in steroid users.
For Full Story

Will Ex-FBI Agent Testify On His Own Behalf In Mob Murder?

Trial resumes Tuesday in Miami in the high-profile trial of ex-FBI agent John Connolly. Will Connolly testify on his own behalf? Inquiring minds want to know. One of his attorneys said the decision hasn’t been made yet.

John Connolly/wbztv

John Connolly/wbztv

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
A Miami jury has been offered a stark view of Boston’s underworld, FBI corruption, and murder in the past month from a trio of deadpan killers and a disgraced ex-FBI supervisor who wept on the stand.
After 17 days of startling testimony, it will be the defense’s turn to call witnesses when jurors return to court Tuesday for the murder trial of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., who is accused of plotting with informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, to kill a Boston businessman in 1982.
The most crucial decision for the defense, according to legal specialists, is whether the 68-year-old Connolly, once a highly decorated star in the FBI’s Boston office, should take the stand.
If he does, then jurors, who have not been told that Connolly is serving 10 years in prison for racketeering, will be informed that the former agent is a convicted felon, according to his lawyers. But if Connolly remains silent, jurors may wonder why a seemingly respected federal law enforcement agent would not personally defend himself against allegations made by a cast of criminals.
“It’s his decision,” said Manuel L. Casabielle, one of Connolly’s Miami trial lawyers, adding that Connolly has yet to decide.
For Full Story

Atlanta The New “Southwest Border” For Drugs

Drug dealers have always been resourceful. When one door shuts, they find another one to open. In this case,  the open door is Atlanta, which has become the new “Southwest border” for drug smugglers.

DEA cocaine photo

DEA cocaine photo

By Bill Torpy
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — When U.S. law enforcement officials last month busted a Mexican drug cartel moving tons of dope and millions of dollars, they announced it in Atlanta.
The distribution ring stretched from Colombia to New York to Italy, but the operation’s key hub was Atlanta. Long a commerce and transportation center for giants like UPS and Delta Air Lines, Atlanta tags itself as an “international city.” This time, it embodied that definition in an illicit way.
Federal drug agent Jack Killorin calls Atlanta “the new Southwest border.”
“All the things that make this area attractive to perfectly legitimate businesses make it attractive to drug smugglers: transportation, good communications, population, even good climate,” said Killorin, who heads the Atlanta high-intensity drug trafficking area task force, or HIDTA.
For Full Story