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Archive for May 5th, 2009

Former Bushees Lobbying to Get Justice Dept. to Bend Ethics Report on Interrogations

justicelogo

Ahhh.  Now this is Washington politics at its best. We’ll see who, if anyone, is willing to bend the ethics in the ethics report.

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

In recent days, attorneys for the subjects of the ethics probe have encouraged senior Bush administration appointees to write and phone Justice Department officials, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

A draft report of more than 200 pages, prepared in January before Bush’s departure, recommends disciplinary action by state bar associations, rather than criminal prosecution, against two former department attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel who might have committed misconduct in preparing and signing the so-called torture memos. State bar associations have the power to suspend a lawyer’s license to practice or impose other penalties.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Holder Assures Federal Judges He’ll Upgrade Professionalism at Justice Dept.

In recent months, federal judges have chastised federal prosecutors around the country including in Washington, Miami and Montana. The newly minted Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. has vowed to address this.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Joe Palazzolo
The National Law Journal
WASHINGTON — In his first confab with the nation’s chief federal district judges, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. pledged to raise the bar of professionalism in the U.S. Department of Justice and acknowledged that the current procedure for reviewing complaints against attorneys was too slow and opaque.

Nine chief judges described the April 21 meeting on the condition of anonymity because it was closed to the public. Holder’s words held the promise of reform for the approximately 90 judges who attended the annual meeting at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington as discovery abuses and other prosecutorial misconduct, new and old, have come under increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the Ted Stevens case.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Dozens of U.S. Attorneys Remain: How Bi-Partisan Should Administration Be When Deciding Whether to Replace Them?

The Obama administration is faced with a tough challenge: trying to look bi-partisan when it comes to serving up justice while taking advantage of all the political plums available.

By Mary Jacoby
Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Conservative Holdover- Pittsburgh U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

Main Justice
WASHINGTON — In March, the Washington Post reported that several highly political Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys were seeking to stay in their posts, prompting fears on the Left that President Obama would leave a cadre of conservative prosecutors in place across the country.

There’s been chatter that some prosecutors are trying to exploit the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal by arguing that if they were replaced now, the Obama administration would be politicizing the Justice Department in the same manner as the Bush White House did.

This argument, of course, is ludicrous: U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president.

It’s true that these powerful law enforcement officials are supposed to administer justice without regard to partisan politics – an issue that was at heart of the U.S. Attorneys firing uproar as it became clear that prosecutors such as David Iglesias in New Mexico were being ousted for refusing to pursue cases against Democrats.

For Full Story

Juror in Miami Terrorism Trial Says Fellow Jurors Making Her Sick to Her Stomach

jury-boxLike the old classic movie “12 Angry Men”, jury deliberations can be intense and extremely difficult. Down in Miami, this terrorism trial seems to fit that bill. The questions is: How will the judge proceed?

BY JAY WEAVER
Miami Herald
MIAMI — A juror at odds with 11 others deciding the fate of six men charged in a Miami terrorism conspiracy said Monday she isn’t willing to deliberate further because the other jurors are making her sick to her stomach.

”I’m really unwilling because I’m making myself very ill,” testified Juror No. 4, who didn’t show up for deliberations early Monday because of a “stomach virus.”

”I’m not agreeing with what some of the other jurors are saying and they’re holding that against me,” she said outside the other jurors’ presence. “To me, all the negativity is directed at me.”

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard asked the juror, a black woman whose name has not been made public, to come to the courtroom to answer questions about her willingness to follow the law and apply it to the evidence in the case after fellow jurors accused the woman of refusing to deliberate. The incident caused the second, unrelated delay in deliberations, which began on April 27.

Lenard said she will make her decision Tuesday on whether to remove the juror and let the remaining 11 continue deliberations, or replace her with an alternate and have a 12-member jury start anew.

For Full Story

Boston Mobster Donato “Danny” Anguilo Dead at 86

mafia33

Slowly but surely the mobsters of the old days are passing away around the country. Sometimes their children have stepped in, but often times the kids like John Gotti Jr. haven’t been nearly as smart and have lived off the reputation of their street- smart dads.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe
BOSTON — Former New England Mafia capo regime Donato “Danny” Angiulo, who was part of a powerful mob family that ruled Boston’s underworld from the 1960s through the mid-1980s, died Sunday night at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after a long illness. He was 86.

His brother, Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo, was the underboss of the Patriarca crime family until an FBI bug planted in his North End headquarters in 1981 captured conversations about homicide, extortion, and loansharking, which led to Boston’s first sensational Mafia trial and the end of the Angiulos’ reign.

In 1986, a federal jury convicted Donato Angiulo and his brothers, Gennaro and Francesco, who was the mob’s accountant, of racketeering, and a third brother, Michele, of illegal gambling.

An Angiulo associate was caught on FBI tapes boasting that South Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his sidekick, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, were friends of the Mafia and would kill for them. More than a decade later it was disclosed that Bulger and Flemmi were longtime FBI informants who had provided information about the interior of Angiulo’s headquarters that assisted agents in planting the bug.

For Full Story

Identify Theft Law Can’t Be Used to Prosecute Illegal Immigrants

supreme-courtThe Supreme Court’s decision gives the government yet another reason to focus enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws against employers, not illegal immigrants.

By ADAM LIPTAK and JULIA PRESTON
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a favorite tool of prosecutors in immigration cases, ruling unanimously that a federal identity-theft law may not be used against many illegal workers who used false Social Security numbers to get jobs.

The question in the case was whether workers who use fake identification numbers to commit some other crimes must know they belong to a real person to be subject to a two-year sentence extension for “aggravated identity theft.”

The answer, the Supreme Court said, is yes.

Prosecutors had used the threat of that punishment to persuade illegal workers to plead guilty to lesser charges of document fraud.

For Full Story

Madoff May be Gone But Scammers Still Abound

handcuffedBernie Madoff may have had the most infamous Ponzi scheme of all time (short of Charles Ponzi), but there are still investors out there getting bilked of their retirement savings and other funds by scammers. First, we have Ponzi schemer Donald Manning sentenced to over 5 years in prison for taking $4.5 million in cash from retirees. Then we have Eric Hauser, former head securities trader and founder of the Lancer Group, manipulating stock values to the tune of $200 million in investor losses. Kudos to the prsoecutors  in these two – this is the last thing our economy needs right now.


By Mike Allen
San Diego Business Journal
Donald Manning, a former president of an investment firm that bilked some $4.5 million from retirees including members of Manning’s family, was sentenced April 15 to 63 months in federal prison by federal Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz, federal prosecutors said.

Manning, 71, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges Jan. 16 in the case that involved two other defendants, Joseph Wayne McCool and Cameron Campbell.

For Full Story

South Florida Business Journal

A former head securities trader pleaded guilty on Tuesday (April 28)  in Miami to charges he participated in a scheme to manipulate trading of stocks owned by the Lancer Group hedge funds.

Investors are estimated to have lost $200 million.

Eric Hauser, 65, was founder and primary manager of the Lancer Group.

It was alleged that, between 1999 and 2003, Lauer and others manipulated the closing market price of thinly traded shell company securities to falsely inflate the value of the Lancer Group hedge funds.

For Full Story