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Archive for December 6th, 2008

Feds Secretly Recorded Illinois Governor

Let’s see. One governor is in prison. Another is under investigation and is being secretly recorded by the feds. Mmm. Sounds a lot like Louisiana.

By Jeff Coen, John Chase and David Kidwell
Chicago Tribune

Gov. Blagojevich/official photo

Gov. Blagojevich/official photo

CHICAGO — Federal investigators recently made covert tape recordings of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the most dramatic step yet in their corruption investigation of him and his administration, the Tribune has learned.
As part of this undercover effort, one of the governor’s closest confidants and former aides cooperated with investigators, and that assistance helped lead to recordings of the governor and others, sources said.
The cooperation of John Wyma, 42, one of the state’s most influential lobbyists, is the most stunning evidence yet that Blagojevich’s once-tight inner circle appears to be collapsing under the pressure of myriad pay-to-play inquiries.
Wyma, Blagojevich’s chief of staff when he was in Congress, has long been one of the few advisers trusted by Blagojevich and kept in the loop on matters of policy and politics. As the federal probe intensified, Wyma met privately with the governor and his former chief of staff at the governor’s campaign headquarters on the North Side for 90 minutes on Oct. 22.
For Full Story

Five Blackwater Guards Charged in Iraqi Civilian Deaths

The security company that became an ugly symbol of America’s unruly presence in Iraq faces ugly times ahead.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Five Blackwater Worldwide Security guards have been charged in a September 2007 shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead and raised questions about the U.S. government’s use of security contractors in combat zones, according to two sources familiar with the case.
The guards, all former U.S. military personnel, worked as security contractors for the State Department, assigned to protect U.S. diplomats and other nonmilitary officials in Iraq.
Federal prosecutors obtained the indictment Thursday, and it was sealed. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District, declined to comment on the investigation. The exact nature of the charges could not be determined. The five security guards are expected to surrender to authorities on Monday, the sources said.
For Full Story

U.S. May Use Unusual Legal Tactic in Case (AP)

Az Rep. Rick Renzi’s Atty. Accuses Feds of Tickling The Wire

Law enforcement calls it “tickling the wire”, an old trick in which investigators leak something or arrest someone and hope people will respond by getting on a wiretapped phone and talking.

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
Associated Press
TUCSON, Ariz. – A lawyer for Rep. Rick Renzi of Arizona has accused the Justice Department of leaking an investigation over a land swap as a way to push Renzi into revealing details on his wiretapped cell phone.
Renzi attorney Reid Weingarten told a federal judge in Tucson that the leaks to media amount to misconduct. A prosecutor said the government investigated the leaks but couldn’t find a source.
The accusations came in a hearing on the retiring Republican’s request to have corruption charges dismissed.

For Full Story

A Man Once Framed by FBI For Murder is Charged With Illegal Gambling

A man who served more than 30 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit now faces illegal gambling charges. Any way you put it, here’s a man with an unlucky hand.

By DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press Writer
WOBURN, Mass.— A man once framed by the FBI for murder pleaded not guilty Friday to new charges that he ran an organized crime ring that took in hundreds of thousands of dollars from illegal gambling.
Peter Limone, 74, of Medford, was charged with 12 counts of attempted extortion, loan-sharking and illegal gaming. He’s accused of running a ring of bookmakers who took bets on sporting events and charging other bookmakers to work on his turf in the Boston area and Middlesex County.
Limone spent more than three decades in prison for a 1965 gangland murder that he didn’t commit. He won part of a $101.7 million civil judgment last year after a federal judge found that Boston FBI agents withheld evidence they knew could prove that he and three other men weren’t involved in the killing.
Attorney Juliane Balliro argued Limone should be released on bail, citing his wrongful conviction and decades behind bars.
“No defendant in the Commonwealth is as deserving of the presumption of innocence as Mr. Limone,” Balliro said.
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Is ex-A.G. Alberto Gonzales Gearing Up to Protect Himself in U.S. Atty. Firing Probe?

Former A.G. Alberto Gonzales left the Justice Department with a big black eye. Now it appears he could be gearing up with more legal help to fend off trouble in the probe into the firing of U.S. Attorneys during his reign.

Ex. A.G. Alberto Gonzales/official photo

Ex. A.G. Alberto Gonzales/official photo

By Zachary Roth
TPM Muckraker

It’s looking more and more like prosecutor Nora Dannehy’s investigation into the US Attorney firings has Alberto Gonzales in its crosshairs.
Earlier this week we reported that Dannehy had contacted the ex-AG in connection with the probe.
Now, we’ve been tipped to legal filings showing that Gonzales’ lawyer, George Terwilliger Jr. of White & Case, is no longer representing Gonzo in a separate case, a civil suit alleging that law students were denied DOJ jobs thanks to illegal politicization at the department under Gonzales.
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