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Archive for December 2nd, 2008

A.G. Candidate Eric Holder May Have More Pardon Questions To Answer Beyond Marc Rich

Eric Holder/law firm photo

Eric Holder/law firm photo

By Jeffrey Anderson
Baltimore City Paper

The only issue even remotely standing in the way of Eric Holder being confirmed as the next U.S. Attorney General seems to be his role in the 2001 pardon of federal fugitive and billionaire Marc Rich, who fled the country after being charged with tax evasion.
However, a 2002 Congressional Report titled “Justice Undone: Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House,” called other actions taken by Holder in connection with a commutation petition for convicted drug trafficker Carlos Vignali “disturbing,” and found that Holder “took a similarly irresolute position in the Vignali case” as he did in the Rich pardon. “Carlos Vignali satisfies none of the appropriate grounds for commutation identified in Justice Department regulations,” the report found.
At issue in the Vignali commutation, according to the Congressional report, was then Deputy Attorney General Holder’s decision to pass along to the White House a recommendation by Justice Department pardon attorney Roger Adams that Vignali’s petition be denied, rather than sign the recommendation himself, as was Justice Department process. The report found that Holder allowed Adams, a subordinate, to oppose the Vignali commutation “while refusing to go on the record against a commutation the President apparently wanted to grant and the President’s own brother-in-law supported.”
For Full Story

Read Key Pages of Document

Sen. Durbin Wants Bush to Commute Ex-Illinois Gov Ryan’s Sentence

Yes, it’s Christmas season and Sen. Dick Durbin wants Pres. Bush to give a big gift to ex-Illinois Gov. George Ryan. What better way to say “I love you”.

By Rick Pearson
Tribune reporter
CHICAGO — Despite an acknowledged firestorm of criticism, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday that he was asking President George W. Bush to commute the federal corruption sentence of former Republican Gov. George Ryan to time served as an act of compassion and mercy.
“For those who would argue that a commutation makes light of his crimes, it is clear that he has already paid a significant price and will continue to do so as long as he lives,” Durbin wrote of Ryan in a letter to Bush. “Justice is a sword that should be tempered with compassion. Further imprisonment will not, in my opinion, serve the ends of justice.”
The request by Durbin, the second-highest ranking Democrat in Senate leadership, met with support from Ryan’s attorney, former Gov. Jim Thompson, but was assailed by the head of Ryan’s prosecution team and some of the jurors who convicted him.
For Full Story

OTHER STORIES Of INTEREST

FBI Report Says White Supremacists Infiltrating Military

The Southern Poverty Law Center is asking the Pentagon to crackdown on extremist recruits. A previous request went nowhere.

By David Holthouse
Intelligence Report
Southern Poverty Law Center

A new FBI report confirms that white supremacists are infiltrating the military for several reasons. According to the unclassified FBI Intelligence Assessment, “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel Since 9/11,” which was released to law enforcement agencies nationwide: “Sensitive and reliable source reporting indicates supremacist leaders are encouraging followers who lack documented histories of neo-Nazi activity and overt racist insignia such as tattoos to infiltrate the military as ‘ghost skins,’ in order to recruit and receive training for the benefit of the extremist movement.”
The FBI report details more than a dozen investigative findings and criminal cases involving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as well as active-duty personnel engaging in extremist activity in recent years.

For Full Story

Some Senators Say Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens Deserves Pardon

As the Bush administration winds down, judgment day is nearing. Will Sen. Ted Stevens get a pardon? We shall see.

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

By MANU RAJU and RYAN GRIM
The Politico
WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) hasn’t yet joined the gallery of notorious felons, small-time crooks and aggrieved innocents seeking pardons from President Bush, but it appears he’ll have the support of some of his soon-to-be-former colleagues if he does.
“He has served this country for over 50 years,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), a widely respected member of the Judiciary Committee. “I think most anybody would probably say, ‘Yeah, he should be [pardoned].’ I think most anybody would say it’s fair to say that.”
On Oct. 27, a District of Columbia jury convicted Stevens on seven counts of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations he received from 1999 to 2006. Stevens, 85, faces up to 35 years in prison if the conviction stands.

For Full Story

Fed. Judge Tosses Out a Lot of Charges Against Puerto Rico Gov.

Puerto Rico’s Governor got a big break. Will it be a big enough break to keep him free?

Puerto Rico Governor

Puerto Rico Governor

By MIKE MELIA
Associated Press Writer
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A U.S. judge has thrown out most of the federal corruption charges against Puerto Rico’s governor, who faces trial in February for alleged campaign finance violations.
The judge on Monday dismissed 15 of the 24 charges against Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila. All but two were dismissed with prejudice and cannot be filed again.
Defense attorney Thomas Green described the ruling as a blow to prosecutors.
“There’s no common thread that weaves all the charges together, but it certainly cuts out a big part of the case,” Green said by telephone from his office in Washington.
A federal indictment handed down in March accuses Acevedo of conspiracy to violate federal campaign laws and defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and giving false testimony to the FBI. The governor, who has denied any wrongdoing, faces trial Feb. 9.
For Full Story

Birmingham, Ala. Mayor Indicted on Corruption Charges

The mayor of Detroit is currently behind bars. Could Birmingham’s mayor be far behind?

By Charles J. Dean
Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -Over an almost five-year period, Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford “corruptly solicited, accepted and agreed to accept money, cash and checks” totaling nearly $250,000 in return for funneling millions of county taxpayer dollars to two political allies, prosecutors allege in a 101-count federal indictment unsealed today.
The indictment charges Langford, along with friends Bill Blount and Al LaPierre, with conspiracy, bribery, fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
The charges stem from a long-running federal investigation surrounding bond deals that were at the center of Jefferson County’s upgrade of its sewer system, deals that have left the county billions of dollars in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.
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Read Indictment