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Archive for November, 2008

Rep. Jefferson Heads into Election With FBI Case Hanging Over His Head and No Trial Date in Sight

Rep. William Jefferson/official photo

Rep. William Jefferson/official photo

For the second time in a row, Rep. William Jefferson heads into the general election with public corruption allegations hanging over his head. Luckily for him, there’s no trial date in sight and he seems to have a loyal voter base. There’s a good possibility he could emerge victorious again.  Before long, we’ll know for sure.

By Bruce Alpert
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON– More than 39 months after FBI agents raided his home and found $90,000 stuffed in his freezer, Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, still is without a firm date for a corruption trial that could derail his political career even if voters give him a 10th term in Congress Dec. 6.
His trial, which had been slated to begin last February and then was rescheduled for Dec. 2, four days before his general election, is now likely to be put off until early 2009, at the earliest. The delays were brought about by the slow pace of the legal system and the thorny legal issues generated by a case with so many judicial firsts and legal precedents that it likely will be studied by legal scholars for decades.
Jefferson, who easily beat former TV anchor Helena Moreno to win the Democratic primary on Nov. 4, rates as a heavy favorite over his four challengers, including Republican political neophyte Anh “Joseph” Cao, in the Dec. 6 general election.
For Full Story

Trial Begins Monday in Bank Robbery That Resulted in Death of an FBI Agent

Robbing banks can be deadly business. An FBI agent was killed during one of those robberies last year in New Jersey — unfortunately by a fellow agent. The trial begins Monday.

By David Porter
Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. – Three men authorities say formed a bank robbery ring in central New Jersey _ including one who allegedly told investigators he became “addicted” to robbing banks _ are scheduled to go on trial Monday for a string of robberies that culminated in the shooting death of an FBI agent last year.
Wilfredo Berrios, Efrain Lynn and Francisco Herrera-Genao, all in their 20s and from New Brunswick, face a litany of armed robbery and weapons counts that could carry maximum combined sentences of more than 100 years. A fourth suspect, Michael Cruz, pleaded guilty in January and is expected to testify for the government.
None of the men is charged with causing the death of FBI agent Barry Lee Bush, who was shot and killed by another agent who mistook him for a suspect during the confusion outside the PNC Bank in Readington, Hunterdon County, on April 5, 2007.
However, U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson can take Bush’s death into account at sentencing if the men are convicted.
For Full Story

Read Indictment

Ex-FBI Agent Talks About Use of Torture To Get Info

Man Impersonates a Federal Agent to Bypass Security At Logan Airport

Every breach of airport security gives this country a collective chill. Here’s the latest.

By Laurel J. Sweet
Boston Herald
BOSTON — A part-time harbormaster accused of impersonating a federal agent and pulling off a terrifying breach of post-9/11 security at Logan International Airport was “an isolated incident,” according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The episode is alleged to have happened on Jan. 1, 2007, but Stephen Grant, 48, of Rockland, was not criminally charged until Tuesday while investigators sorted out how he managed to board an American Airlines [AMR] flight from Boston to San Diego, waved past normal security channels.
Ann Davis, Boston spokeswoman for the TSA, yesterday declined to discuss Grant’s case, citing the “ongoing investigation.”
For Full Story

An Open Letter To Ariz. Gov. Janet Napolitano About Homeland Sec. Job

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

Gov. Napolitano/official photo

By Rober Liscouski
Security DeBrief

Governor Napolitano:
Congratulations on your nomination as the Secretary of Homeland Security.
You have signed up for one of the most difficult and most scrutinized jobs in America. The department you are about to lead is responsible for maintaining freedom and liberty while protecting the nation from unthinkable man-made or natural disasters, a delicate balance if there ever was one. Needless to say, it is one of the most important jobs we have in government. DHS was created at a time in our history when our nation felt vulnerable, uncertain and angry.
Those of us who served at DHS during its start-up phase remember that though the department was started with a strategy, there existed no historical references for what we were undertaking; that is, many of the functions that were assigned to the Department were new and had never been done before on the scale we were asked to do them.
Read Full Letter

L.A. FBI Sends Agents to India to Investigate Attacks

Incidents like this are a reminders of the boundless determination of terrorists.

Asian News International
WASHINGTON — U.S. President George W. Bush phoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from Camp David on Thursday and offered his country’s support in investigations connected with the serial terror attacks in southern Mumbai that left 125 dead and 327 injured.
According to reports, a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team consisting of bomb and forensic experts, has been sent from Los Angeles to help in the investigation.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has briefed President-elect Barack Obama on the situation in Mumbai, even as national security and intelligence chiefs gathered at the White House to discuss the prevailing situation in India.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Former Defense Contractor Helps Feds Investigate More Members of Congress

This former defense contractor could help make for an interesting year in 2009 when it comes to crooked Congress members.

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Mitchell Wade, the former defense contractor who pleaded guilty in February 2006 to bribing former representative Randall “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.), has assisted the government in investigating five other members of Congress, numerous government employees and several private contractors, according to a memorandum filed by his attorney on Wednesday.
Although none of those members is named, two are under investigation, according to the memorandum, and “three others have come under scrutiny for their receipt of straw contributions” from former Wade employees and one for the possible receipt of undisclosed gifts.
Wade, who is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15, faces a minimum of nine years in prison. Instead, based primarily on his cooperation with government investigators, he is seeking to have that sentence reduced to “a year of home detention, a fine of $250,000, five years probation and substantial community service,” according to the sentencing memorandum filed on his behalf by his attorney, Howard M. Shapiro.
For full Story

Read Govt. Sentencing Memorandum

Read Wade’s Lawyers Sentencing Memo

Read Wade’s Letter To Judge

Happy Thanksgiving

Let Us Be Thankful We Don’t Have To Watch Anymore Presidential Campaign Ads!