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Archive for November 6th, 2008

Ex-FBI Agent Convicted of Murder in Mob Case

Ex-FBI agent John Connolly was convicted in a long drawn out trial that was an embarrassment to the Boston FBI.

Ex-Agent Connolly/cbs news

Ex-Agent Connolly/cbs news

By David Ovalle
Miami Herald
MIAMI — Jurors have found ex-FBI agent John Connolly guilty of second-degree murder for his role in helping Boston mobsters assassinate an accountant in South Florida in 1982. He was found not guilty of a second charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
In the 1970s and ’80s, Connolly was a star agent in the FBI’s Boston office, developing criminal informants and helping dismantle the New England Mafia.
But in a closely followed saga in Boston and one the FBI’s most embarrassing scandals, Connolly’s two star informants corrupted him, prosecutors said.
The allegation: James ”Whitey” Bulger and Stephen ”The Rifleman” Flemmi ordered the murder of John Callahan based on a tip from Connolly.
For Full Story

Feds Take Next Step in Obama Assassination Plot

In one of the uglier moments of the 2008 campaign, these two men were arrested last week on a criminal complaint charging them with trying to kill Sen. Obama. Yesterday, the feds took the next step and had them indicted by a grand jury.

By Lawrence Buser
Memphis Commercial Appeal
MEMPHIS — Two men arrested last week for plotting a racially motivated multi-state killing spree, including the assassination of President-elect Barack Obama, were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Jackson.
Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., were named in a seven-count indictment alleging threats to a major presidential candidate, possession of illegal weapons and conspiracy to rob a federally licensed firearms dealer.
Acting U.S. Atty. Larry Laurenzi said the investigation is ongoing.
For Full Story

Read Indictment

ICE Chief Julie Myers to Leave

Now comes the mad stampede out the door. Julie L. Myers of ICE is the first high-level Bush appointee to resign in the post-election era.

Julie L. Myers/official photo

Julie L. Myers/official photo

By Spencer Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON – Wasting little time after the election before jumping ship, Julie L. Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, will leave the Bush administration on Nov. 15, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announcement today.
Myers, 39, did not say if she planned to re-enter private practice after 12 years in government, but ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said, “She is very passionate about these [immigration] issues and will carry that passion into future endeavors.”
Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers, served as Chertoff’s chief of staff when he headed the Justice Department’s criminal division
For Full Story

Prosecutors Accuse Weapons Dealer of Selling To Terrorists

Prosecutors say Monzer al-Kassar not only sold weapons, but he sold them to terrorists who were out to kill Americans.

By Benjamin Weiser
New York Times
NEW YORK — For more than 30 years, prosecutors say, Monzer al-Kassar, a Syrian-born merchant, has been involved in illegal arms deals and money laundering. On Wednesday, as his trial opened in Federal District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors told the jury about what they said were his plans to sell arms to rebels who wanted to kill Americans.
Brendan R. McGuire, a prosecutor, said that Mr. Kassar and his co-defendant had “agreed together to put an arsenal of weapons, explosives and missiles into the hands of terrorists.”
But what Mr. Kassar and the co-defendant, Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy, did not know, Mr. McGuire said, was that the deal was an elaborate sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which was using informants to pose as brokers seeking arms for a Colombian terrorist organization.
For Full Story

Other Stories Of Interest

Homeland Security Grants To Have Fewer Strings (Washington Post)

Crazed Passenger Flips Out in Friendly Skies– Faces Federal Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
America, meet the passenger from Hell!
During  a United flight from San Juan Puerto Rico to Chicago on Saturday, Maria Esther Castillo struck a female crew member “on the buttocks with the back of her hand”, swore and generally acted out of control, according to an affidavit by FBI agent Peter D. Carricato.
“This behavior continued intermittently with short periods of calm followed by loud outbursts,” the court document said.
At one point,  Castillo called a passenger a “bitch” and struck her on the arm. She also landed on the head of a blind passenger and later started pulling that person’s hair, the affidavit said.
Finally, the flight crew was forced to use duct tape to confine her to her seat and the pilot  diverted the plane to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the affidavit said.
Castillo is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.
Read FBI Affidavit

Defense Attacks Key Witness in Ft. Dix Terrorism Trial

Following a time-tested strategy, the defense is going on the attack, trying to undermine a key government witness in the Ft. Dix terrorism trial. Will it work?

wcbstv

wcbstv

Geoff Mulvihill
The Associated Press
CAMDEN, N.J. – Attorneys for five men accused of plotting to kill soldiers in New Jersey began cross-examining a key government informant Wednesday as they tried to pin blame for the alleged conspiracy on him.
The four previous days Mahmoud Omar spent on the witness stand mostly involved prosecutors asking him to clarify secret recordings he made that are key to the government’s case. Defense lawyers contend it was Omar who tried to create a conspiracy and draw the other men into it.
Rocco Cipparone, the lawyer for defendant Mohamad Shnewer, quizzed Omar about his past crimes, what he was getting for cooperating with the FBI, his investigative methods and his truthfulness.
Omar, 39, became an informant in 2005 after being caught in a bank fraud scam.
For Full Story

See Daily Transcript Of The Trial and Videos