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Archive for May 13th, 2009

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Leads Candlelight Vigil for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers and Agents

photo by Allan Lengel/ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — On a perfect spring night, with temperatures hovering in the 60s, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder lead a candle light vigil for thousands of law enforcement officers and family members who gathered Wednesday night in Washington to commemorate the passing of 387  officers and federal agents killed in the line of duty.

“As we dedicate these 387 names to the walls of this Memorial we reflect on the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our safety and to defend our freedoms,” Holder said as he stood at the National Law Enforcement Memorial near the FBI Washington Field Office and D.C. Police headquarters.

Of those officers, 133 were killed in 2008.

The candlelight vigil is an annual ritual during Police Week, which runs through this week. The event attracts law enforcement officers from around the country.

DEA Agent Indicted on Charges of Lying that Resulted in 17 Wrongly Charged

cleveland

This has the makings of an ugly ugly public relations mess.

By John Caniglia
Cleveland Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND – An agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was indicted today on charges that he lied repeatedly in a botched 2005 drug case that caused 17 people to be wrongly charged.

Lee Lucas, a 19-year veteran, was charged in U.S. District Court in Cleveland with perjury, making false statements, obstruction of justice and violating a person’s civil rights involving a case that resulted in 26 arrests in Mansfield.

A federal grand jury spent 17 months investigating Lucas’ role in the Mansfield case, a case that years later prompted judges and juries to drop charges against 23 of the people arrested.

Lucas, 41, was known for his intense work ethic, especially when teaming up with Cleveland police narcotics officers. He led a DEA task force that swooped up cocaine and sent scores of people to prison.

But his career, which began in Miami and later Bolivia, often was clouded with controversy and questions about his credibility.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Prosecutors Recommend Probation for FBI Agent Mark Rossini Who Leaked Document to Actress Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino

Linda Fiorentino

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – Ex-FBI agent Mark Rossini, who was busted for leaking a confidential FBI document to his lover, actress Linda Fiorentino, should get probation instead of prison time, federal prosecutors said in a court filing here.

” As a result of admitting this violation, the defendant has already resigned from the FBI, and has suffered a significant and public fall from grace,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington.

“Taking into account all of these factors, the government feels that a sentence of five years probation, with the general conditions and special conditions…., along with a $10,000 fine, is justified by the serious criminal conduct when measured against the defendant’s contrition and admission of guilt,” the government document said.
The government document said sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 0 to 6 months in jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.

Sentencing is set for Thursday at 10 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola.
Rossini, a dapper and colorful character who became fodder for the New York gossip columns when he started dating actress Linda Fiorentino , was accused of accessing the FBI’s Automated Case Support System (ACS) more than 40 times for personal use in Washington and New York between Jan, 3 2007 and July 30, 2007. He pleaded guilty last Dec. 8 to five counts of criminal computer access.

What ended up being his undoing was when he downloaded an FBI document known as a “302 report” on Jan. 26, 2007, and gave it to Fiorentino.

Fiorentino, who according to federal authorities, had a “previous relationship with Anthony Pellicano” provided a copy of the report to a Pellicano attorney in San Francisco.

The attorneys then used the document in Pellicano’s trial to say that the government was withholding “exculpatory information from the defense.”

Little did the attorneys know that the judge had privately told the government in an ex-parte communication that it did not have to hand over the document. Pellicano was eventually convicted of running a criminal enterprise that illegally snooped on high profile celebrities.

Rossini resigned from the FBI, and according to the sentencing memorandum, has landed employment “which was a condition of his plea agreement.”

Under the government’s proposed special conditions of probation, Rossini would be required to perform 250 hours of community service and not seek employment with the federal government or any state, federal or local law enforcement entity while on probation.

Read Government Sentencing Memorandum

FBI AGENT MARK ROSSINI WHEN HE VISITED A MOSQUE IN BROOKLYN


Boston Fed Prosecutor Admits Withholding Evidence: Judge Says He Sees Pattern in the U.S. Atty’s Office

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf

Maybe we’re just noticing this problem more since the Justice Department moved to void the conviction of ex-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. But it seems to be popping up a lot all around the country as of late. In this case, the federal judge said he saw a pattern of this in the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office. If true, the problem could open the doors to more successful appeals by criminals.

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe
BOSTON — A federal prosecutor acknowledged yesterday that she withheld evidence that could have helped clear a defendant in a gun case but said it was an inadvertent mistake and implored the chief judge of the US District Court in Massachusetts not to impose sanctions that could derail her career.

“It is my mistake. . . . It rests on my shoulders,” a composed Suzanne Sullivan, assistant US attorney, told Judge Mark L. Wolf in a dramatic hearing in Boston that lasted more than two hours. “I also ask the court to give me the opportunity to rebuild my reputation.”

But Wolf said he was considering several sanctions because he was so appalled by Sullivan’s lapse and by what he characterized as a pattern of prosecutors in the US attorney’s office withholding evidence.

The potential sanctions ranged from fining her – which prosecutors said no federal judge in the country has done for a lapse of Sullivan’s type – to an order that she and perhaps all 90 criminal prosecutors in the office undergo additional training about their constitutional duty to share such evidence with defendants.

“It’s unpardonable, and if I don’t find it deliberate, I find it’s at least ignorance and reckless disregard,” he said at the hearing at which he also criticized as ineffectual the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

For Full Story

Grand Jury Probing Ex-NBA Star in Leak to Drug Kingpin in ATF Raid

This scandal is widening and it’s not pretty. A Philly detective is also under investigation into who tipped off a major drug kingpin about an ATF raid.philly-map1

By George Anastasia and John Shiffman
Philadelphia Inquirer
PHILADELPHIA –– Former NBA point guard Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, a Philadelphia high school standout and a star at UCLA, is now a central figure in an obstruction-of-justice investigation built around a phone call he made to a local drug kingpin warning him that he was about to be arrested.

Richardson, 42, called Alton “Ace Capone” Coles from California shortly before 3 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2005, to tell him that “the feds were coming,” according to those familiar with the probe.

Coles and several top associates were arrested in a series of raids about three hours later. They were charged with heading a multimillion-dollar crack cocaine distribution network.

Philadelphia police detective Richard “Rickie” Durham, a boyhood friend of Richardson’s, was the source of the information Richardson forwarded to Coles that morning, according to investigative sources. Durham is the target of a grand jury investigation.