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Archive for December, 2008

Prosecutors Want More Time to File Indictment Against Gov. Blagojevich

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com
U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald filed a motion Wednesday asking for a 90-day extension to return an indictment against Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris to review an avalanche of potential evidence.
Under federal procedures, the government has 30 days to obtain an indictment through the grand jury after filing a criminal complaint. The governnor was arrested Dec. 9 on a criminal complaint.
The four-page motion filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago indicated that prosecutors needed more time to review “thousands of phone calls intercepted between late-October 2008 and early December 2008”.
It also said “multiple witnesses have come forward in recent weeks to discuss their knowledge of criminal activity in relation to the ongoing investigation” that has gone on since 2003.
“The government cannot complete its investigation and appropriately conclude the investigation within the time allowed,” the motion said.
The motion asks that the government have up until April 7 to file the indictment. Blagojevich has publicly denied any wrongdoing.
Read Government Motion

U.S. Atty. in North Texas Stepping Down

U.S. Atty Richard Roper/official photo

U.S. Atty Richard Roper/official photo

Another U.S. Attorney fleeing before the curtain comes down on the Bush regime.

By MAX B. BAKER
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

U.S. Attorney Richard Roper is stepping down as the top federal prosecutor in North Texas to become a senior partner at a Dallas-based law firm, where he will handle white-collar fraud and corporate investigation cases.
A Fort Worth native, Roper will work in Thompson & Knight’s Fort Worth and Dallas offices. A firm with more than 400 attorneys, Thompson & Knight has other offices in Texas as well as in New York, Mexico and overseas.
Roper, 51, has served as U.S. attorney since 2004, but he has worked as a federal prosecutor since 1987. He previously had worked at the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.
“It is going to be difficult,” Roper said of moving to the private sector. “I’ve been a prosecutor for 26 years. But I see it as a great challenge.  . . . Thompson & Knight is one of the best law firms in the country, and I’m honored to go to work with them.”
First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Jacks will be appointed the acting lead prosecutor until a replacement is named.
For Full Story

Ex. Atty. General Alberto Gonzales Defends His Rocky Tenure

Critics portrayed him as partisan and even inept. Will history treat him fairly?

By EVAN PEREZ
Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON — Alberto Gonzales, who has kept a low profile since resigning as attorney general nearly 16 months ago, said he is writing a book to set the record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in the Bush administration.
Mr. Gonzales has been portrayed by critics both as unqualified for his position and instrumental in laying the groundwork for the administration’s “war on terror.” He was pilloried by Congress in a manner not usually directed toward cabinet officials.
“What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he said during an interview Tuesday, offering his most extensive comments since leaving government.
During a lunch meeting two blocks from the White House, where he served under his longtime friend, President George W. Bush, Mr. Gonzales said that “for some reason, I am portrayed as the one who is evil in formulating policies that people disagree with. I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror.”
For Full Story

Immigration Officials Curbing Controversial Drugging of Deportees

The treatment of illegal immigrants remains a controversial issue in the U.S. Here’s the latest issue.

By DIANNE SOLÍS
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — Federal immigration officials, over the past year, have dramatically curtailed the controversial practice of sedating deportees with powerful anti-psychotic medication.
The move followed court challenges and a public outcry over the practice, which often involved the use of Haldol, a drug used to treat schizophrenia.
Data collected through Freedom of Information Act requests by The Dallas Morning News show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement sedated only 10 people in the past fiscal year. Haldol was used in only three cases.
Over the past six years, through October, federal immigration personnel sedated 384 deportees, an average of 64 a year, the government disclosed. Of those cases, 356 involved the use of Haldol.
U.S. officials defended the sedation policy but declined to discuss it in detail, including the frequency with which sedation has been used, which led The News to request the information through the Freedom of Information Act.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Probing Fla. Rep. Tim Mahoney (ABC News)

Ex-Army Mechanical Engineer, 85, Pleads Guilty to Giving Israelis Classified Documents

An 85-year-old man who spied for Israel may not have to spend the final stretch of his retirement behind bars. Judgment day is Feb. 13.

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK — An 85-year-old former Army mechanical engineer pleaded guilty to conspiracy Tuesday and admitted he passed classified documents to the Israelis in the 1970s and ’80s.
Ben-ami Kadish told U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz he believed the government promised it would not seek a prison term when he is sentenced Feb. 13. Assistant U.S. Attorney Iris Lan said prosecutors promised only that they would not oppose or challenge a sentence that included no prison time.
Kadish, who lives in Monroe Township, N.J., pleaded guilty to only one of the four conspiracy charges he originally faced.
Kadish was accused of taking home classified documents from 1979 to 1985 when he worked at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, N.J. The government said he let an Israeli agent photograph documents, including information about nuclear weapons, a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet and the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.
For Full Story

Mobsters, Corrupt Politicians and Terrorists Helped Round Out the Year for the FBI

By Allan Lengel
Ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – There was the Miami trial of the dirty bomber Joseph Padilla. The New York indictment of 62 mobsters with suspected ties to the Gambino, Genovese or Bonanno crime families. The Washington indictment and conviction of “Uncle Ted” Stevens, the longest serving Repulican senator. The discovery that scientist Bruce Ivins – who later killed himself — was the likely culprit in the anthrax attacks. And of course, there was the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Ahhh, 2008.
It may have been a turbulent and difficult year. But it was anything but boring. To commemorate a year of crime,  the FBI compiled 52 press releases representing its top news stories for each week of the year.
To read them click here.

Gov. Blagojevich Shows His Chutzpah: Defies Everyone and Fills Senate Seat

Roland Burris

Roland Burris

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, defying conventional political wisdom — not to mention U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his own state Democratic Party — appointed a former longtime Illinois state official to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
The appointment of former state comptroller and former state attorney general Roland W. Burris, 71, who is currently a lobbyist, is almost certain to end up in both state and federal courts. Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White has vowed not to certify the governor’s selection. Reid and Senate Democrats — including Dick Durbin, Illinois’ senior senator, have vowed not to seat Burris or any other candidate appointed by Blagojevich.
That means a showdown is virtually certain, raising doubts whether Burris will ever fill the Senate seat.
At an extraordinary Chicago news conference, Blagojevich, who faces federal corruption charges for allegedly trying to auction the Senate seat to the highest bidder, said he is making the appointment because Illinois is “entitled to two U.S. senators.” Blagojevich said that he selected Burris when the legislature failed to move on an alternative appointment process after
he was arrested on a criminal complaint Dec. 9.
“The law requires that the governor make this appointment,” he said.
Blagojevich praised Burris and asked that the “appointee be separated from the appointer.”
“This is about Roland Burris, not about the governor who appointed him.”
Burris, who reportedly has donated about $20,000 to Blagojevich’s campaigns, and whose law and lobbying firms reportedly have had contracts with the state government, declined to comment on his legal woes. Burris also denied having any connection to Blagojevich’s legal woes.
In Washington, Reid issued a statement before the Blagojevich-Burris news conference making clear where Senate Democrats stand.

Read more »

Gov. Blagojevich Press Conference