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Archive for October 31st, 2008

Atty. Gen. Mukasey Running Up Frequent Flyer Costs With Personal Trips

Is Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey’s frequent  flights for personal trips an abuse?

By Marisa Taylor
McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Michael Mukasey has taken personal trips on government jets almost every weekend since he took office less than a year ago at a cost to taxpayers of more than $155,800, Justice Department and Federal Aviation Administration travel records show.
Mukasey took so many trips to his home in New York on FAA, FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration planes that he was outside Washington a third or more of February, May, July, August and September. From November 2007 to September 2008, he traveled to New York 45 times, according to the records, which were released in late October in response to open records requests that McClatchy filed nine months ago.
Justice Department officials defended Mukasey’s personal travel, saying that he has no choice but to fly on a government plane to see his family. Mukasey, unlike most other Cabinet members, is required to fly on government planes, rather than commercial ones, for security reasons, and he often worked from home, the officials said.
“When he travels personally, the attorney general pays what any other government official would pay for a commercial flight to that location,” Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement. “It would be unfair to penalize financially the attorney general because he is one of the few government officials required to use government aircraft for all travel.”
For Full Story

Indicted Mass. Politician Changes Mind On Re-election Bid

Maybe it was the FBI photos that were made public that showed her stuffing alleged bribe money in her bra. Or maybe it was the pressure from the city’s religious community. Whatever it was,  state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson  announced Friday that she doesn’t have the stomach to continue her re-election bid for the state senate.

By Jessica Fargen
Boston Herald
Sen. Wilkerson/state photo

Sen. Wilkerson/state photo

BOSTON — A solemn state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson announced today she is ending her re-election campaign following a chorus of calls for her to resign.
Her decision comes after a morning meeting with members of the city’s Ten Point Coalition and Black Ministerial Alliance who were asking the eight-term state senator to quit as she confronts corruption charges levied against her.
The clergy groups even gave Wilkerson a 15-minute deadline today to either side with them in a joint statement or face them walking out on the talks. Wilkerson ultimately agreed to end her defiant run for re-election.

For Full Story

Read Criminal  Complaint

Look At Exhibits

McCain and Obama Differ On Crime Issues

official photo

official photo

With the economy going to hell, both presidential candidates have paid little attention to the crime issue. But their records provide some insights.

official photo

official photo

By Solomon Moore
New York Times
CHICAGO – As an Illinois legislator for seven years, Senator Barack Obama sponsored more than 100 bills on crime, corrections and the death penalty, making criminal justice one of his top priorities as a state lawmaker.
In his nearly three decades in Washington, Senator John McCain has had a reputation for taking strong law-and-order stances.
But compared with many past presidential elections, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain have paid little attention to issues of criminal justice as they compete for the White House.
The change is a reflection, experts say, of 15 years of declining crime rates, an electorate less anxious about public safety and the fact that crime and law enforcement issues are less partisan than they used to be.
“The political climate has shifted,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organization for criminal justice reform. “Democrats and Republicans both embrace a more evidence-based approach to public safety that looks at programs and policies that work.”
For Full Story
Read ticklethewire Columnist James G. Huse Jr. On Crime And The Presidential Race

Feds And State In N.Y. Forgo Turf Wars To Go After Financial Crimes

Egos and elbows are taking a backseat to an unusual level of cooperation between the New York Atty. General’s Office  and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan.

Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo

Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo/state photo

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia/official photo

U.S. Atty. Michael Garcia/official photo

By Benjamin Weiser and Ben White
New York Times
NEW YORK— On Sept. 25, as the world financial crisis escalated, two of New York’s most powerful lawyers met for lunch in a restaurant near Wall Street with a name that recalled happier times: Bull Run.
They were Michael J. Garcia, the United States attorney in Manhattan, and Andrew M. Cuomo, the state attorney general. Both men’s offices have histories of moving aggressively against financial fraud, and of vigorously defending their turf when other prosecutors try to compete for their cases.
But over lunch, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Cuomo reached an unusual agreement: to investigate jointly the shadowy world of credit-default swaps, the $55 trillion market in unregulated financial instruments at the center of the meltdown. Soon, both men’s top aides were hammering out details of the cooperation in an eighth floor conference room in Mr. Garcia’s office in Lower Manhattan.
For Full Story

Something Isn’t Kosher In Iowa: Feds Arrest Ex-CEO Of Meat Plant

Yes, operations at the kosher meat plant in Iowa weren’t very kosher. The former head of the plant could be off to prison on a variety of charges including harboring illegal immigrants.

By Kari Lydersen
Washington Post Staff Writer
The former chief executive of the Iowa kosher meatpacking plant that was the site of a large immigration raid in May was arrested yesterday on federal conspiracy charges involving harboring illegal immigrants for financial gain and aiding and abetting document fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Federal officials allege that Sholom Rubashkin, son of Agriprocessors founder Abraham Aaron Rubashkin, intentionally helped illegal workers obtain false documentation. The new charges come one day after the Iowa labor commissioner fined the company $10 million for wage violations.
For Full Story

Federal Investigators Question Ex-Countrywide Exec Who Handled VIP Mortgages

Baltimore Man Off To Prison After Filming In Movie Theater

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON –It’s safe to assume that Michael Dwayne Logan is no longer “enchanted”.
The 31-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced earlier this week in U.S. District Court in Washington to 21 months in prison for illegally filming the Disney motion picture “Enchanted” last year at a movie theater in the Chinatown district of Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Investigators from the Motion Picture Association of America conducted a surveillance of Logan before his arrest by D.C. police last Nov. 27, authorities said.
His high-definition camera was seized and a forensic examination showed that Logan had recorded about 50 minutes of the Disney film, according to court documents.
The forensic examination also found a link between Logan’s camera and numerous other pirated films purchased on the streets of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts ordered that Logan, after serving his sentence, be placed on 12 months supervised release, during which time he must stay away from movie theaters.

Read U.S. Atty’s Sentencing Memorandum

Federal Trial Underway In Calif. For “America’s Sheriff”

Perhaps it’s a curse to be crowned “America’s” darling. Larry King dubbed  Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona “America’s Sheriff.” Now the former sheriff is sitting in federal court facing public corruption charges.

Former Sheriff Michael Carona/ channel 4

Former Sheriff Michael Carona/ channel 4

By Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press Writer
SANTA ANA, Calif. –The first witness in a federal corruption case against a former Orange County sheriff acknowledged Thursday that he knew it was illegal to launder campaign donations for the lawman but did it anyway.
The testimony came under cross-examination during the second day of the trial against Michael Carona, once the three-term head of the nation’s fifth-largest sheriff’s department. He was dubbed “America’s sheriff” by CNN’s Larry King for his unflinching pursuit of the killer of a 5-year-old girl.
For Full Story

Read Superseding Indictment