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Archive for November 12th, 2008

NYT and LA Times Ask Fed Judge To Release Gov. Documents On Wrong Anthrax Suspect

Scientist Steven J. Hatfill, who was once the obsession of the FBI during the anthrax probe, quickly became a footnote in the case when the government cleared him and pointed the finger at scientist  Bruce Ivins. Ivins ended up committing suicide. But now the focus is back on Hatfill, at least for the moment.

Scientist Hatfill wrongfully accused

Scientist Hatfill wrongfully accused

By JESSE J. HOLLAND
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Two newspapers asked a federal judge Wednesday to make public several documents relating to a former Army scientist who was named as a person of interest in the 2001 anthrax attacks and later exonerated.
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times want the government’s search warrants and supporting documents involving Steven Hatfill, who was eventually cleared in the anthrax attacks and was awarded $5.8 million in a lawsuit accusing the Justice Department of violating his privacy.
Normally, search warrants would be sealed for a person who has not been charged or indicted, lawyers said. But the public has a right to know why investigators wanted to search Hatfill’s home and on what basis the courts agreed to allow those searches, the newspapers argued in U.S. District Court.
“The public has a right to know why he was targeted,” said Jeanette Melendez Bead, lawyer for the newspapers.
For Full Story

Appeals Court Refuses To Toss Out Public Corruption Charges Against Rep. William Jefferson

Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) has had some luck of late, winning the Democratic primary in his re-election bid. But Wednesday was not one of his lucky days, at least not in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

Rep. Jefferson/official photo

By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON – Acting with unusual speed, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today refused Rep. William Jefferson’s request to throw out most of the 16 corruption charges setting the stage for a trial in 2009.
Jefferson can appeal the ruling by the Richmond, Va. based court to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could prevent a trial early next year.
There was no immediate comment from Jefferson’s lawyers.
In the ruling, a three-judge panel for the 4th Circuit said that even if the grand jury that indicted him heard testimony about Jefferson’s congressional activities, in possible violation of the Speech or Debate clause of the Constitution, that isn’t sufficient to overturn most of the federal criminal indictment against him.
For Full Story

Read Court Opinion

The Latest Discussion On the Hunt For Bin Laden

FBI Arrests Mass. Man For Allegedly Lying About a Terrorist Suspect

Just as he was about to start a new life abroad, the FBI swooped in and arrested Tarek Mehanna. Now he may be starting a new life, but not one he anticipated or certainly wanted.

By Shelley Murphy and Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff
BOSTON — Statements that Tarek Mehanna allegedly made to the FBI two years ago in the midst of a terrorism investigation came back to haunt him last weekend, when the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy graduate was arrested as he was about to board a Boston flight to start a new job overseas.
Mehanna, 26, who was living in a sprawling house in Sudbury with his parents, is charged with lying to the FBI in December 2006 when questioned about the whereabouts and activities of Daniel J. Maldonado, a former Methuen resident who was suspected of training at an Al Qaeda terrorist camp to overthrow the Somali government.
An FBI affidavit unsealed in federal court in Boston Monday alleges that Mehanna told agents on Dec. 16, 2006, that he had known Maldonado for three or four years and that when he last spoke to him two weeks earlier, Maldonado was living in a suburb of Alexandria, Egypt, and working for a website.
For Full Story

Read Criminal Complaint

Blogger Comments on Arrest


Fire at FBI Headquarters Forces Evacuation

Behind closed doors, in meetings at the Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters, things on occasion have been known to get a little heated. But Tuesday afternoon things got way too hot.

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A boiler room fire at FBI headquarters in downtown Washington led to an evacuation this afternoon, D.C. fire officials said.
The fire department was called at 4:15 p.m. to the garage of the headquarters, off Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Firefighters found a utility room on the garage level was fully engulfed in flames. The blaze was extinguished within 15 minutes, officials said.
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Obama’s Secret Service Nickname: “Renegade”

"Renegade"Following in an old Secret Service tradition, the first family-elect has some nifty little nicknames.   Obama is now the “Renegade” , which we assume he prefers over “Maverick”.

Rex W. Huppke
Chicago Tribune
Since the time of Harry Truman, presidents and their families have been assigned security code names.
Truman’s was “General.” Dwight Eisenhower was known as “Providence.” And John F. Kennedy, perhaps suggesting a Camelot theme, was “Lancer.”
The Obama family has received its new-and alliterative-names: “Renegade” (Barack), “Renaissance” (Michelle), “Radiance” (Malia) and “Rosebud” (Sasha).
These not-so-secret names used by the Secret Service are chosen by the White House Communications Agency, the brains behind dubbing Ronald Reagan “Rawhide” and Rosalynn Carter “Dancer,” Jacqueline Kennedy “Lace” and Caroline Kennedy “Lyric.”
For Full Story

Incredulous Chicago Gang Enforcer Tells Indiana Fed Judge: “You’re Giving Me 40 Years for Guns?”

Maybe Bernard Ellis thought he’d be out of the joint in time for the next presidential election. But it looks like he won’t be out for the next one, or the next one, or….for a long long time.


By Frank Main
Chicago Sun-Times
The reputed chief enforcer of the Gangster Disciples in the Chicago area has been ordered to spend 40 years in prison for illegally purchasing guns in in northwest Indiana.
Bernard Ellis, 41, of Country Club Hills, seemed surprised by the long prison term handed down Monday.
“You’re giving me 40 years for guns?” Ellis exclaimed, insisting he never killed anyone.
He told the judge the sentence was “crazy” and said he’ll appeal. But U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. said the sentence was justified, calling Ellis an “armed career criminal.”

For Full Story

Read Sentencing Findings

Houston U.S. Atty the Latest To Dash For the Exit

U.S. Attorneys continue to hit the exit door as the Bush reign approaches the finish line. The latest is Don DeGabrielle who is off to private practice and presumably bigger bucks.

U.S. Atty. Donald DeGabrielle/official photo

U.S. Atty. Donald DeGabrielle/official photo

By Mary Flood
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Tim Johnson has been named acting U.S. attorney for the Houston-based Southern District of Texas, taking over for Don DeGabrielle, who resigned as of last week.
Johnson, who was DeGabrielle’s first assistant, is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law in Houston and a former Internal Revenue Service special agent.
He was an assistant U.S. attorney for about four years in the 1980s before practicing at a law firm and as a solo litigator and criminal defense attorney for 17 years. He returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in spring 2006 to serve as DeGabrielle’s second-in-command.
For Full Story