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Archive for January, 2009

Arizona Customs Agent and Wife Busted For Taking Bribes Involving Ectasy Smuggling

It’s tough enough patrolling our nation’s borders. But when you have crooked border patrol agents it makes it all that much tougher.

By Jennifer Lawinski
Fox News

A customs agent and his wife were arrested (Wednesday) night in Arizona on charges of accepting bribes to allow more than 600,000 fake ecstasy pills into the country.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Henry M. Gauani, 41, and his wife Flora A. Gauani, 46, both of Yuma, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to accept a bribe by a public official, according to the Justice Department.
“Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard because we rely on them to protect our communities and our borders,” Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, said in a statement. “The vast majority of law enforcement officials are honest and hard working, and I appreciate the efforts of the federal agencies who weed out those who chose to betray the public’s trust and confidence.”
A complaint unsealed on Wednesday alleges that the Gauanis were paid $8,000 to allow 100,000 ecstasy pills into the country through Henry Gauani’s inspection lane at the border crossing in Yuma, Ariz., in December 2008.

For Full Story

Newsweek Reports That Bush in Final Days Instructed Karl Rove Not To Cooperate in Probes

Karl Rove

Karl Rove

President Bush initially talked about being a uniter, not a divider. But Karl Rove was very much a man who helped create a divide in this country. The President apparently had a little advice for Rove before departing to Texas: Keep Your Yap Shut.

Michael Isikoff
Newsweek Web Exclusive
WASHINGTON — Just four days before he left office, President Bush instructed former White House aide Karl Rove to refuse to cooperate with future congressional inquiries into alleged misconduct during his administration.
On Jan. 16, 2009, then White House Counsel Fred Fielding sent a letter (.pdf) to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin. The message: should his client receive any future subpoenas, Rove “should not appear before Congress” or turn over any documents relating to his time in the White House. The letter told Rove that President Bush was continuing to assert executive privilege over any testimony by Rove-even after he leaves office.
A nearly identical letter (.pdf) was also sent by Fielding the day before to a lawyer for former White House counsel Harriet Miers, instructing her not to appear for a scheduled deposition with the House Judiciary Committee. That letter reasserted the White House position that Miers has “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress about anything she did while she worked at the White House-a far-reaching claim that is being vigorously disputed by lawyers for the House of Representatives in court.
For Full Story

Deputy For Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Pleads Guilty

The ghost of Jack Abramoff continues to cast a cloud over this wheeling-and-dealing city. He was the poster boy of the ugly side of Washington. Here’s the latest fruits of his labor.

By NEDRA PICKLER
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A former deputy to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty Friday to lavishing congressional staffers with gifts including an all-expense paid trip to the World Series, box seats at concerts and fancy restaurant tabs.
Todd Boulanger admitted to U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts that he provided tens of thousands of dollars worth of entertainment to Capitol Hill aides who could help him get legislation favorable to his clients. Sometimes, he said, he concealed their identities in expense reports to try to keep them from being exposed for violating gift bans.
Boulanger, 37, could have faced up to 5 years in prison, but under terms of his plea deal prosecutors recommended that he get 18-24 months with reduced time if he continues to cooperate in the investigation. A sentencing date has not been set and he was released without bail.

For Full Story

Last DEA Agents Leave Bolivia as Relationship With U.S. Continues to Sink

This perplexing development is a blow to the DEA’s war on drugs and is a further sign of the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Bolivia. Will any other South American nations follow?

By Chris Kraul
Los Angeles Times
LA PA, Bolivia — The last U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents left Bolivia on Thursday after having been ordered out by President Evo Morales, even as Bolivian police report that coca cultivation and cocaine processing are on the rise.
Morales demanded the DEA’s exit in November as part of a bitter dispute between U.S. and Bolivian officials that included his expulsion of U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg and the Bush administration’s decertification of Bolivia’s anti-drug effort.
The departure in recent weeks of three dozen agents ends the DEA’s presence here after more than three decades. Senior law enforcement officials said it was the first time a DEA operation had been ordered out of a country en masse.
For Full Story

N.Y. U.S. Atty Office Breeding Ground for Stars

This office has an alum list of whos who including Sen. Charles Schumer,Rudy Guiliani, Rep. Charles Rangel and former FBI director Louis Freeh. Not a bad list.

Alum Sen. Charles Schumer

Alum Sen. Charles Schumer

By BENJAMIN WEISER
New York Times

When a longtime federal prosecutor, Cathy Seibel, was sworn in as a federal judge last month, the onlookers included many former colleagues from the office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, some of whom had gone on to become law professors, defense lawyers and judges themselves.
Among those former co-workers were three men who had been mentioned as candidates to become the next United States attorney in Manhattan: Preet Bharara, now chief counsel to Senator Charles E. Schumer; Mark F. Pomerantz, a defense lawyer; and Lev L. Dassin, now filling the position temporarily.
And if President Obama chose none of the three? Chances are the job would go to someone else in the room.
For decades, presidents have picked the United States attorney in Manhattan, perhaps the most prestigious federal prosecutor’s job outside Washington, from an elite pool of candidates who have worked in the office. And this agency, located next to the old federal courthouse at Foley Square, has also catapulted so many former prosecutors into other premier jobs that it has become, in a sense, one of the city’s most powerful clubs.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Colorado Man Charged With Threatening to Kill Obama and Blow Up Mall

By P. SOLOMON BANDA
Associated Press Writer
DENVER-A Colorado man has been indicted on charges of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and blow up the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis.
A federal grand jury in Denver handed up the indictment Tuesday against 20-year-old Timothy Ryan Gutierrez of Cortez, in southwestern Colorado.
The U.S. attorney’s office said Gutierrez turned himself in at the FBI’s Durango office Thursday afternoon and was being held without bond.
He was to appear in court Friday afternoon. Gutierrez had no listed phone number and it was not immediately known if he had an attorney.
“Both threats were taken seriously, and both threats were investigated immediately by the FBI,” said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for acting U.S. Attorney Dave Gaouette.
For Full Story

College Madam Tied To Eliot Spitzer Case is Off To Prison

The fall out from disgraced N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s indiscretions continued to play out Thursday.

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK –– A college student who managed the prostitution ring that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison.
Cecil Suwal, 24, of New York, cried as she apologized and asked for mercy from U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones.
“It is my aim to prevent others, especially young girls, from making the kind of mistakes that I have made,” Suwal said.
She pleaded guilty last year to money laundering, conspiracy and conspiring to promote prostitution.
The federal probation department had recommended that Suwal receive no prison time. Prosecutors had sought roughly two years.
For Full Story

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s ex-aide Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A senior staffer for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) pleaded guilty Thursday in Northern Virginia to receipt of child pornography.
Jeff Rosato,32, of Arlington, faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria. Sentencing is set for May 1 before U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said  a forensic analysis of Rosato’s computer equipment showed he had  several movies and thousands of images of “child pornography and child erotica”.
After his release from prison, Rosato  will remain under Court supervision for at least five years and be required to register as a sex offender, authorities said.
Last November, after his arrest, Natalie Ravitz, Boxer’s spokeswoman, issued a statement: “On Friday, the Justice Department informed our office of criminal charges made against a Senate employee. Senator Boxer has zero tolerance for crimes against children, and the employee was immediately terminated.”
The D.C. Examiner reported that Rosato’s attorney Patrick Anderson on Thursday asked that his client remain in the custody of his father pending sentencing.
“This is a sad situation,” Anderson told the judge.”(Rosato) was sexually molested as a child and he never dealt with that… his addiction got the best of him.”
But the judge, according to the Examiner, ordered Rosato off to prison immediately.

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