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Archive for January 15th, 2009

Sen. Specter Presses Eric Holder on Marc Rich Pardon

Ex-Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Gets 40 Years in 1982 Mob Murder

The mob and the Boston FBI had a toxic relationship. This was just another story in that sad chapter. But this tale may not be over. Connolly could still go free on a successful appeal, which he seems to have a shot at.

BY DAVID OVALLE
Miami Herald
John Connolly/wbztv

John Connolly/wbztv

MIAMI — Disgraced FBI agent John Connolly must serve 40 years in prison for the 1982 murder of a one-time gambling executive, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Thursday.
But Circuit Judge Stanford Blake left the door open to the conviction being tossed out by an appeal court later, agreeing with defense attorneys that the statute of limitations had run out for the murder.
However, Blake refused to toss Connolly’s conviction because the ex-agent’s lawyers waited too long to file their motion.
Defense attorney Manny Casabielle proclaimed Connolly a “free man.”
”There is no doubt that John has won,” Casabielle said.
For Full Story

Justice Says Missing White House Emails Found

Funny how those emails seemed to turn up just at the right time.

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge yesterday that the Bush administration will meet its legal requirement to transfer e-mails to the National Archives after spending more than $10 million to locate 14 million e-mails reported missing four years ago from White House computer files.
Civil division trial lawyer Helen H. Hong made the disclosure at a court hearing provoked by a 2007 lawsuit filed by outside groups to ensure that politically significant records created by the White House are not destroyed or removed before President Bush leaves office at noon on Tuesday. She said the department plans to argue in a court filing this week that the administration’s successful recent search renders the lawsuit moot.
Hong’s statement came hours after U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered employees of the president’s executive office — with just days to go before their departure — to undertake a comprehensive search of computer workstations, preserve portable hard drives and examine any e-mail archives created or retained from 2003 to 2005, the period in which e-mails appeared to be missing.
For Full Story

Holder Strategy Becomes Clear as His Senate Confirmation Hearing Begins

Eric Holdler/msnbc
Eric Holder/msnbc

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Yes, Eric H. Holder Jr. messed up, Yes he intends to be an INDEPENDENT  Attorney General, and Yes Yes Yes, the Marc Rich pardon was a BIG  BIG mistake, and Yes he would have done things differently now.
With his family and former FBI director Louis Freeh sitting behind him, Holder gave a brief speech as his Senate confirmation hearing began Thursday morning.
In all, the strategy of Holder and his supporters became quite evident at the onset: Emphasize his competence and integrity and admit that he made mistakes in the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich when he was deputy Attorney General under President Clinton.
Former Sen. John Warner,  a well respected senator,  did just that, testifying this morning in favor Holder’s confirmation. He praised Holder, but said:
“Mr. Chairman, Eric Holder would be the first to say  that his career was marked by certain  misjudgments. He freely acknowledges that….but the key to this man is that he learned from those experiences. He learned in such a way that those misjudgments will not be repeated.”
Then Holder himself talked about Marc Rich and told the committee:
“I’ve accepted the responsibility of making those  mistakes. I never tried to hide, I never tried to blame anybody else.” He said he should have kept prosecutors on the case informed of what was going  on.
“I should have not spoken to the White House and expressed an opinion without knowing all of the facts in regards to that matter.”,
“I learned from that experience..I will be a better attorney general should I be confirmed, having had the Marc Rich experience.”
Sen. Arlen Specter, one of his more vocal critics in recent weeks, asked some tough questions about Rich.
But so far, it’s likely the mea culpa strategy coupled by emphasis on competence and integrity is likely to work.

Latest Bomb in Stevens Case: Judge Accuses Government of Misleading Him and Orders Atty. Gen. Mukasey to Sign Declaration Under Oath and Turn Over Documents

By Allan Lengel
tickethwire.com

In the latest explosive turn, the federal judge in the former Sen. Ted Stevens trial on Wednesday accused the government of misleading him about an FBI agent who filed a complaint about government misconduct in the case.
U.S District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan , in court papers filed Wednesday in Washington, essentially accused the government of misleading him about the “whistle blower status” of the agent Chad Joy, to prevent or limit the agent’s complaints from being made public and to keep his identity under wraps as long as possible.
Sullivan  (in photo) ordered Atty. General Michael Mukasey to turn over by Friday all relevant documents pertaining to Joy’s whistleblower status.
Stevens was convicted in October, but has asked for a new trial or that the case be dismissed based on allegations of government misconduct.
Agent Chad Joy’s name was first revealed Wednesday.  An investigator in the case, he has alleged government misconduct and has accused the lead FBI investigator Mary  Beth Kepner of having inappropriate relations with witnesses, using a source to help her husband get a job, leaking information about the case, accepting gifts from sources, meeting a government witness in her D.C. hotel room and disclosing to that witness the name of someone who testified before the grand jury.
According to the judge’s court papers, on Dec. 11, the government filed a motion to seal a “self-styled whistleblower” complaint it had received agent Chad Joy in the Stevens case. The defense soon objected to the document being sealed.
The government countered, arguing “strenuously” that the FBI agent’s complaint should not be made public based on the agent’s whistleblower status and privacy considerations. Such status gives government employees certain protections when they come forward with information about wrongdoing.

Read more »

More Details of Allegations of FBI Misconduct Come Out in Stevens Case

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens/official photo

The case is only getting uglier. Whether the prosecution can survive all the allegations and maintain the conviction is a big question mark.  At minimum, a new trial could be in the making. But who knows.

By ERIKA BOLSTAD
Anchorage Daily News
WASHINGTON — One of the FBI agents assigned to investigate corruption in Alaska politics has accused the lead agent in the probe of unethical behavior, including leaking information about the inner workings of the agency to outsiders and seeking a job for her husband from people who were sources that led to the conviction in October of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
The allegations against FBI Special Agent Mary Beth Kepner were first introduced last month, when Special Agent Chad Joy’s whistleblower complaint surfaced as part of Stevens’ appeal. Until Wednesday, however, much of Joy’s complaint was blacked out, leaving people to speculate about the identity of the whistleblower and the Justice Department co-workers he had accused of wrongdoing.
Joy also remained unnamed until Wednesday, when U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan held a court hearing to decide whether to allow the public to see additional blacked-out sections of the eight-page document. Joy, who began working for the FBI in 2003, was assigned to the public corruption probe soon after arriving at the Anchorage office in January 2004.
In his complaint, Joy largely focuses on Kepner’s relationship with her sources in the investigation. One of those sources, which is still redacted, “gave Kepner’s husband his current job as a security guard at the Port of Anchorage,” Joy wrote. Joy also accuses her of accepting artwork of her dog painted by the wife of another source, also unnamed, as well as house-hunting help when she moved from Juneau to Anchorage.
For Full Story

Read Latest Version of FBI Agent’s Allegations

Intelligence Report Finds No Credible Threats At Fla. Super Bowl

There are few sure things in life. Nonetheless, it sounds like super news about the Super Bowl. Let’s hope it holds true. Want a sure thing: Don’t bet on the 0-16 Detroit Lions doing much better next year.

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and MITCH STACY
Associated Press Writers
TAMPA, Fla. — A U.S. intelligence report says there is no credible threat of terrorist attacks at the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, but police said Wednesday that visitors should still expect the type of heavy security typical of every Super Bowl since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
While no specific threat was identified, a joint FBI and Homeland Security intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press cautions that Raymond James Stadium, the Super Bowl site, does not have the typical security features of permanently secure buildings, such as jails or military bases.
However, the report noted, “the visible presence of hundreds of well-equipped security officers, standoff barriers and other security measures likely will serve as deterrents to attack.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Prosecution Fails for Second Time to Put Madoff in Jail (Wall Street Journal)