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Archive for January 2nd, 2009

FBI Tried to Help Muslims Get Another Flight In Washington After Getting Booted

Cases To Watch For In ’09

  • By Allan Lengel/ticklethewire.com
  • Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich(Chicago) Now this guy knows how to put on a show. He toured the New York talk show scene while the Illinois Senate was preparing to behead him. Now he’s an ex-gov, but don’t expect him to tone down his act. And don’t expect U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to back down. Of for that matter, Pres. Obama  to replace the Republican-appointed Fitzgerald with a Dem-appointment in midst of this mess. More drama to come. No trial date yet
  • Bernie Madoff

    Bernie Madoff

  • Bernie Madoff(New York) If someone in New York ever decides to sell Bernie Madoff piñatas, they’ll make a fortune. And speaking of fortunes: Where’d Bernie hide all the cash? This story has more drama than a Meryl Streep movie. Expect lots more tears, lots more whining and revelations about lots of rich people – or make that former rich people – some who have been left with as much savings as a 7-11 clerk working his way through college. A Jan. 12 preliminary exam set.
  • Barry Lamar Bonds(San Francisco) – We love him. We hate him. We loved to watch him hit home runs even to the backdrop of fans booing. But will he strike out in court? Trial for perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the steroid scandal is set for March 2.
  • Bernie Kerik

    Bernie Kerik

    Bernie Kerik -(New York) No one has gone from hero to heel quicker than Bernie Kerik – unless maybe you count ex- Sen. John Edwards. Kerik was a centimeter away from becoming Secretary of Homeland Security with the help of a ringing endorsement from pal Rudy Giuliani. Now of days, in the law enforcement field, he’d be lucky to get a security guard job at Popeyes fried chicken on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. He faces charges of tax fraud and making false statements regarding the background checks for his appointment as head of Homeland Security.

  • Rep. William Jefferson

    Rep. William Jefferson

    Ex-Rep. William J. Jefferson(Alexandria, Va.) This public corruption case has had more delays than O’HARE International Airport during a snowstorm. The FBI first raided his home in New Orleans and Washington on Aug. 3, 2005. Then agents raided his office in May 2006 and opened a can of worms that tied them up with a bundle of legal challenges in court. Early on in the case, the Congressman explored a possible plea agreement. It never went very far. Now he’s trying to appeal the government to death. No trial date yet in this bribery-public corruption case. But odds are the trial will finally happen sooner than later. Question is: Is the case as sexy now that Jefferson is an ex-Congressman?

  • Five Blackwater Security Guards (Washington) – The feds say these guys loaded and shot Iraqi citizens like they were in a pinball arcade. The guards say they have a defense. Look for a major knock out, dragged out battle here. These guys obviously know how to fight. We’ll see how their attorneys do. The judge just set jury selection for Jan. 29,  2010. Until then, expect lots of motions and battles in court.
  • Mayor Larry Langford

    Mayor Larry Langford

    Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford – (Birmingham, Ala.) When you see this indictment you might think someone got a little “count” happy. Langford and two co-defendants face a 101-count indictment. It might be easier to count 101 Dalmations. Hard to imagine how long it will take a jury to plow through those counts. Then again, with so many, at least one has got to stick. The mayor faces bribery,fraud, money laundering, and filing false tax returns at trial, which is set for May 4.

  • John Gotti Jr.

    John Gotti Jr.

    John Gotti Jr.(New York) This wiseguy knows his way around a courtroom, just like dad, who died in prison in 2002. On August 5, he was arrested on conspiracy charges in Florida in connection with a major cocaine ring and the slayings of three New Yorkers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A few months later, the case was transferred to New York, his home turf. A “Sammy the Bull” like-government snitch – just like dad had – could prove troublesome for the cocky Gotti. No trial date set.

  • Rep. Rick Renzi

    Rep. Rick Renzi

    Ex-Rep. Rick Renzi (Tucson) This guy is stealing the playbook from Rep Jefferson, invoking an oddly named law: Speech or Debate Clause. He’s charged in a land swap deal that involves charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud. His attorneys are filing multiple motions saying that feds violated the Speech or Debate Clause (like Jefferson), which protects speech and documents related to legislative activity. Trial is set for March 24

  • State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

    State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson

  • Ex-Mass. State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson – (Boston) It’s never good when the feds have a photo of you slipping some bribe money under your sweater and into your bra. It’s a tough image to shake loose from a juror’s mind during trial. Apparently Wilkerson was the target of an FBI sting in which she allegedly took $23,500 in bribes. She resigned in November. No trial date. A status conference is set for Jan. 22.

Father of Pardoned Scammer Had Meeting With Bush After Giving Donation

Pardons are like stray landmines: you never know when they’ll blow up on you.

BY KENNETH R. BAZINET and JAMES GORDON MEEK in Washington and CELESTE KATZ in New York
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
The father of a convicted housing scammer at the heart of a pardon controversy scored a bonus meeting with President Bush after giving big bucks to the GOP, the Daily News has learned.
Robert Toussie, who gave the Republican National Committee $28,500 in March, traveled to Crawford, Tex., to meet with Bush.
The President granted a pardon for Toussie’s housing scammer son Isaac last week, but he yanked it back a day later. White House spokesman Tony Fratto confirmed to The News that Robert Toussie attended the party for big-bucks donors near the President’s ranch in Crawford.
Toussie got to hang with Bush, as well as ex-President George H.W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, at the cash bash.
For Full Story

New Crack Cocaine Sentencing Guidelines Bring New Struggles

crack cocaine

crack cocaine

Ever since the crack cocaine epidemic surfaced in the 1980s, authorities have wrestled with it in the courts. Here’s how the latest battle is playing out in federal court.

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Michael D. Thompson, a former crack cocaine dealer, thought he deserved a break.
Sentenced in 2000 to 15 years and eight months in prison, Thompson asked a federal judge in the District to release him, arguing that he had received an unfair sentence and has turned his life around behind bars, earning a general equivalency diploma and completing a commercial driving course.
Federal prosecutors said that was a terrible idea. Citing Thompson’s criminal past and prison disciplinary record, which includes threatening a prison official with a knife, prosecutors argued in court papers that the 37-year-old poses a danger to the community and should complete his sentence.
Thompson’s case is one of thousands around the country in which crack offenders and their defense attorneys are sparring with federal prosecutors over how to interpret new sentencing guidelines for crack possession or sale. The guidelines were issued to right old wrongs. But they have led to time-consuming legal challenges dealing with the often long-forgotten consequences of the bloody crack wars in the late 1980s and 1990s.

For Full Story

DEA Busts Nashville Cockfighting Ring Linked to Mexican Drug Cartel

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that drug traffickers might be involved in other illegal activity that generates income.

dea photo

dea photo

NewsChannel5.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Federal authorities have shut down a massive cock-fighting outfit in Tennessee, and those involved also were part of a Mexican drug trafficking cartel.
The bust could have a major impact on the midstate for two reasons. Not only did the crackdown suffocate the marijuana trade in Tennessee, the crackdown could also shed new light on animal fighting and its relationship with other serious crime.
“They’re routinely trained to fight. Then they strap razor blades on them (roosters) and throw them in a pit to fight to the death and gamble on the outcome,” said Leighann McCollum with the Humane Society Spokesperson.
Cock fighting is a vicious and illegal bloodsport, and it turns out Tennessee is a hotspot for it.
While targeting a Mexican drug cartel in December, DEA officials discovered that drug traffickers were also running a massive cock fighting arena in Cumberland County, Tenn.
For Full Story
“We found a number of chickens used in cockfighting, a large and extensive operation,” said Harry Sommers with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

For Full Story

Nine Muslims Pulled Off Flight at Reagan National Airport

The endless battle of balancing constitutional rights and security continues. Here’s the latest from Reagan National Airport, a popular hub for Congress.

By Amy Gardner
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Officials ordered nine Muslim passengers, including three young children, off an AirTran flight headed to Orlando from Reagan National Airport yesterday afternoon after two other passengers overheard what they thought was a suspicious remark.
Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.
For Full Story