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Archive for April 28th, 2009

FBI Agent William Kim Gets Victim Assistance Award

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — FBI special agent William L. Kim of the Washington field office has received the Vanguard Award for “outstanding work in the field of victim assistance”, the FBI said.

Kim was credited with helping in the quick recovery of an abducted 5 year old, the agency said. He was honored on April 26 by the Northern Virginia Coalition of Victim Service Providers at its annual Candlelight Vigil of Courage, Hope and Remembrance.

“Agent Kim exemplifies the dedication of FBI personnel to protect, and act swiftly to save the lives of those in danger,” said Joseph Persichini Jr., who heads the Washington FBI field office.

Pres. Obama Addresses FBI and Gives Agency a Thumbs Up

Today’s visit was a good sign of Pres. Obama’s support for the FBI and its mission. Interestingly, for a conservative agency, there were some agents who normally vote Reobamapublican who were fed up with the Bush regime and voted for Obama.

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Offering a robust endorsement for the FBI and its leadership, President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised the bureau’s employees for their commitment to staying “one step ahead of all who step outside of the law.”

“We are counting on you,” Obama said from an outdoor courtyard at FBI headquarters, where he was greeted by sustained cheers.

Thousands crammed the plaza, while many other FBI workers peered down from their windows. Obama thanked them all for embracing “a profound transformation” in their mission and their capabilities.

“With the attacks of 9/11, your mission became focused more than ever before on prevention, so that we have the capacity to uncover terrorist plots before they take hold,” he said. “With the spread of new technologies you increasingly confronted adversaries in unconventional areas, from transnational networks to cybercrimes and espionage. And through it all, you must continue to stay one step ahead of all who step outside of the law.”

For Full Story

Dem Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu Says She’ll Back Republican U.S. Atty. Letten’s Bid to Stay On

The Senator had been hinting for months that she would back the current U.S. Attorney. The Obama administration has said that it won’t simply replace U.S. Attorneys because they were appointed by a Republican. So far, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago is the only Republican-appointed U.S. Attorney who has been told he can stay on for good. Letten, who enjoys a great reputation in New Orleans, would be the second Republican appointed U.S. Attorney to get the nod to stay on.

KEVIN McGILL
U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

U.S. Atty. Jim Letten

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said Monday she will recommend that President Barack Obama keep a popular Republican, Jim Letten, as the U.S. Attorney in New Orleans, a powerful patronage post that usually goes to a member of the party that holds the White House.

Landrieu also announced her recommendation that Obama appoint New Orleans Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris to an open U.S. district judgeship in New Orleans and Louisiana State Police Lt. Col. Genevieve “Genny” May as the U.S. Marshal for the New Orleans-based federal district.

But it was the Letten recommendation that was the most eagerly awaited in Louisiana political circles. Letten gained political fame in the state when, as an assistant U.S. Attorney during the Clinton administration, he led the prosecution team that put former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in prison for corruption. After George W. Bush became president, Democrat Eddie Jordan left the U.S. attorney’s post, as often happens with a change in administrations. Letten filled the job on an interim basis then was formally appointed by Bush.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Montana Fed Judge Blasts Prosecutors in Asbestos Criminal Trial

missoula-montanaThe pain of the Sen. Ted Stevens case still languishes. In that case, the government was accused of misconduct that included  failing to turn over documents to the defense. The conviction was vacated. Now comes this case where the allegations are similar and the judge, just like in the Stevens case, is steaming mad.

By KIRK JOHNSON
New York Times
MISSOULA, Mont. – A chastened team of prosecutors stood here on Monday before a clearly angry federal judge in the criminal trial over asbestos contamination in the small town of Libby, Mont., and in soft voices, trying to salvage their threatened case, said they were sorry.

“The truth of the matter is that we just dropped the ball,” said Tim Racicot, an assistant United States attorney, standing before Judge Donald W. Molloy at a hearing in Federal District Court in the trial of W. R. Grace, the big chemical products company, and five of its executives, who are charged with multiple felonies in connection with their operation of a vermiculite mine in Libby.

Lawyers for Grace asked last week for the charges to be thrown out after two months of testimony. They accused prosecutors of repeatedly violating court orders to turn over evidence favorable to the defense and of putting on the stand a star witness whose credibility, they said, has since been shattered by information about his character, motivation and relationship with the prosecutors that the jury never heard about.

Fed Judge in Calif. Sentences “America’s Sheriff” to 5 1/2 Years in Prison

It’s a tough thing to live up to the unofficial title of  “America’s Sheriff”. Obviously, ex-Sheriff Mike Carona found it to be a tough challenge. He failed.

By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI, LARRY WELBORN, JON CASSIDY and DOUG IRVING
The Orange County Register
Sheriff Mike Carona

Sheriff Mike Carona

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Former sheriff Mike Carona was sentenced Monday to 5 ½ years in federal prison by a judge who said Carona brought shame to Orange County and victimized the people he was sworn to serve.

Carona, the highest ranking law enforcement official ever prosecuted in Orange County, displayed no emotion. He sat with his head up and hands clasped on his knees as U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford rejected his plea of probation.

He was allowed to remain free until July 24.

“Trust has been harmed here,” Guilford told Carona moments before reading his sentence. “Especially by this county’s leading law-enforcement officer.”

For Full Story

FBI Arrest Sheds Light on Twitter Crime Scenes

twitter4The FBI is being forced to be well versed in such social networks as Twitter and Facebook. Welcome to the new frontier.

By OMAR EL AKKAD
Toronto Globe and Mail

The arrest this month of an Oklahoma City man who is accused of posting death threats on Twitter shines a light on how law-enforcement agencies are conducting investigations in the age of microblogging, when blogs and MySpace sites can be far more useful than fingerprints.

The FBI arrested Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, earlier this month for allegedly issuing death threats on April 11. Several posts were made under the handle “Citizen Quasar,” in relation to the “tea party” anti-tax protests in U.S. cities. One such protest was scheduled for Oklahoma City.

Among the posts on April 11 (all posts are as they appeared online): “The WAR wWIL start on the stepes of the Oklahoma State Capitol. I will cast the first sotne. In the meantime, I await the police.”

A few minutes later, another post reads: “I really don’ give a shit anymore. Send the cops around. I will cut their heads off the heads and throw the on the State Capitol steps.”

For Full Story

Read ticklethewire.com columnist Greg Stejskal’s column on the Internet and Freedom of Speech

Feds Say They Arrested Louisiana Judge After They Had Concern He Might Harm Himself

louisiana-mapIt’s not everyday that the feds say the timing of the arrest was based on concerns that the person might harm themselves. Even the judge’s attorney found that “ironic”.

By  Chris Kirkham
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS –– Friday’s FBI arrest of St. Bernard Parish District Judge Wayne G. Cresap came after concerns that the judge might harm himself if agents didn’t make a move, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said Monday.

Letten would not go into detail about how seriously Cresap might have injured himself or how agents learned about the risk, but he said “the timing of the arrest was precipitated in some significant measure by our concerns.”

Cresap was released Monday evening from Orleans Parish Prison after Letten’s office and Cresap’s attorney agreed he was no longer a danger to himself, three days after he was arrested on wire fraud charges stemming from an alleged judicial corruption scheme.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk released Cresap on a $100,000 signature bond after a medical examination, meaning the judge did not have to put up any money, authorities said. Cresap’s attorney, Pat Fanning, said “it did seem a little ironic” that the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office were primarily concerned about Cresap’s mental health.

For Full Story

Informant Says FBI in Calif. Monitored Mosque Members at Gyms

istock_000007698493xsmallThese latest revelations can only create more tension between the FBI and the American Islamic communities. The FBI needs to make sure it lose all the ties it has made in Islamic communities since Sept. 11, 2001.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.

Sal Hernandez, director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, declined comment on the matter Monday. Another law enforcement source, however, confirmed that the surveillance occurred, but emphasized that it was a narrowly focused operation targeting people whom the informant had already implicated in alleged crimes.

The informant is Craig Monteilh, who said he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators.

Monteilh, a muscular man with a background as a personal trainer, said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents, he said, later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He said he was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.

For Full Story