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Archive for May 15th, 2009

Weekend Series on History: Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover Trash the U.S. Supreme Court Justices and Discuss Pentagon Papers

Obama Announces First Batch of New U.S. Attys Including N.Y, Ala., N.J.

Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.
Paul Fishman for N.J. U.S. Atty.

Well, it’s a start. There’s a lot more to come.

By Farhan Daredia
Main Justice
WASHINGTON — After a slow start, President Obama announced his first batch of U.S. Attorneys nominations on Friday. Notable among them is Joyce Vance for the Northern District of Alabama, who will replace the controversial Alice Martin. Martin has been accused of being part of a GOP cabal that prosecuted Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman for partisan political purposes.

The other nominees were, as expected: Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York’;  Tristram Coffin for Vermont; Jenny Durkan for the Western District of Washington; and John Kacavas for New Hampshire. Read the White House annoucement here.

To Read More

Justice Dept. Legal Assistant Indicted in Maryland on Drug Trafficking Charges

doj-logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department legal assistant has been charged in Maryland with cocaine trafficking, according to a federal indictment unsealed Friday.

Wilson Lee Garrett,  35, of Waldorf, Md., faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to the the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the two count indictment alleges that from mid-2006 to February 2007 Garrett “conspired to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine.”

If convicted on the various charges, he could face up to life in prison.

Garrett made his initial appearance Friday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. He was detained pending a detention hearing Monday.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Texas Inmate Pleads to Threatening Life of Fed Judge

texas-map2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Texas inmate serving life for murder and a host of other crimes can add something to his resume: threatening the life of a federal judge.

Patrick Neil Womack, 34, pleaded guilty Thursday to sending a letter to U.S. District Judge David J. Folsom of Texarkana, Tex. saying he planned to escape from prison and kill him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal authorities say that Womack sent the threatening letter in 2007 from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Clement Unit in Amarillo, Tex. He was indicted on the charge in July 2008.

No sentencing date has been set. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. There is no indication that Womack ever went before Judge Folsom, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Womack’s was convicted in recent years of murdering a fellow inmate and assaulting a prison official.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Says New U.S. Attorneys to be Named Soon

U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

U.S. Atty. Mary Beth Buchanan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The long awaited replacement of U.S. Attorneys around the country could begin soon. We’ll see how bi-partisan the selections are.

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that Atty. Gen Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday:
“I expect that we’ll have an announcement in the next couple of weeks with regard to our first batch of U.S attorneys.

“One of the things that we didn’t want to do was to disrupt the continuity of the offices and pull people out of positions where we thought there might be a danger that that might have on the continuity–the effectiveness of the offices.

“But…elections matter–it is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”

So far, for sure, the only Republican appointed U.S. Attorney who is staying on is Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago. That was a no brainer. Jim Letten of New Orleans has a pretty good shot at sticking around.

After that, who knows. U.S. Atty. Mary Beth  Buchanan of  Pittsburgh would like to stay. But that may be pushing the bi-partisan spirit a little too far considering her super-conservative credentials and ties to the Bush administration.

Some lawmakers are getting antsy about the issue.

Gerstein reports that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) at Thursday’s hearing remarked:  “Many jurisdictions are waiting desperately to see what is going to be done. As we understand it, the protocol has been that U.S. Attorneys would hand in their resignations and would give the new administration an opportunity to make new appointments, we don’t see that happening quite fast enough.”

You’ve Got to Be Kidding: Feds Bust FDIC Economist For Bank Robbery

Ok. This simply comes under the category of: What’s Wrong With This Picture? This guy apparently didn’t get the memo that he’s supposed to protect the banks, not rob them.Its a stick up

By The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An economist on leave from the federal agency that insures bank deposits has been charged with the April 11 attempted robbery of a Kansas City-area bank.

Jeff Walser said he had a bomb in his briefcase and demanded money at the Bank of America branch in Independence, but did not take $41,000 brought to him by an employee, according to an indictment filed Tuesday.

Walser, 51, surrendered to police and was being held in federal custody, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Walser told police that he has health problems and was “alone, discouraged and tired of working” and that his plan was to be arrested and not tell police he required thrice-weekly dialysis treatments to survive.

“I wanted to be arrested and I wanted to die,” he is quoted as saying. “But after my arrest, I did not have the will to kill myself.”

To Read the Rest

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Lawmakers Annoyed Over No Masks in Swine Flu Outbreak

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Lawmakers didn’t mask their annoyance Thursday during a subcommittee hearing with Homeland Security’s undersecretary of management Elaine C. Duke.

“Your excuses are lame when you say you’re following the medical advice,” the subcommittee chairman, Stephen F. Lynch, (D-Mass.) told Duke, according to a report in the Washington Postmask.

The flap was over masks.

Lawmakers criticized the department for failing to authorize protective face masks for employees working the U.S.-Mexico border during the swine flu outbreak, the Post reported.

“Some suggested that the department had placed bureaucratic considerations ahead of the health and safety of its workers,” the Post reported.

Duke said Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano made the decision not to issue masks based on recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies.