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Archive for May 29th, 2009

Reputed Chicago Mob boss Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno, a Cop and 5 Others Indicted

chicagomap

MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press
CHICAGO – A reputed mob boss, a police officer and five other men were charged Thursday in a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges eight years of armed robberies, burglaries, jewel thefts and arson based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno, 51, of Westchester allegedly masterminded much of the group’s illegal activity, including a February 2003 pipe-bomb explosion that wrecked the storefront offices of a company distributing video poker machines.

Prosecutors say the bombing was a message from organized crime to stop intruding on its $13-million-a-year video poker gambling business.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Department Spars With Washington Times Over Black Panther Report

black-panther

Interesting to see the Democratic administration sparring with the conservative media voice in town. This is not likely to be the last time.

By Mary Jacoby
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice is disputing a Washington Times report today claiming that Obama administration political appointees overruled career Civil Rights Division attorneys in dismissing a voter-intimidation lawsuit against members of the militant Black Panthers. In an editorial, the Times expressed dismay the story hadn’t been “front-page news.”

In a statement issued by Civil Rights Division spokesman Alejandro Miyar, the DOJ said:

Contrary to the report in the Washington Times, a career attorney in the Civil Rights Division made the final decision to dismiss charges against three of the defendants in this case following a thorough review that determined the facts and the law did not support pursuing the claims in this case

For Full Story

Another Story: FBI Attacks New York Post for Story on Cyber Virus Attack on FBI Computers  (FBI Press Release)

Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Stephanie Gallagher Says “Speech or Debate Clause” Making a Comeback in Corruption Cases

Stephanie Gallagher

Stephanie Gallagher

By Stephanie Gallagher
Fraud With Peril Blog

The Speech or Debate Clause seems to be making a comeback. Recently, former Congressman Jefferson invoked it in an effort to have his indictment dismissed. He was unsuccessful.

Now, Baltimore City Councilwoman Holton is relying on its protections in asking a Maryland state court to dismiss a bribery indictment pending against her. She might have a better chance.

The idea behind the Speech or Debate Clause is that legislators should be free to exercise their best judgment without concern that they will be sued civilly or prosecuted criminally for their official acts.

Essentially, the government can’t use official legislative acts, such as votes or statements at legislative sessions, to charge a legislator with a crime.

To Read More

Press Spokesman Channing Phillips Named Interim D.C. U.S. Attorney

justicelogoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Channing Phillips, a press spokesman and steady hand in the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office over the years, who worked for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., will become the interim U.S. Attorney, ticklethewire.com has learned.

The news comes just one day after U.S. Atty. Jeff Taylor announced that he was stepping down to take a job with the auditing firm of Ernst & Young. Taylor was a well-liked in the office, but it became clear that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton wanted to recommend someone for the post and it wasn’t going to be Taylor.

Over the years, Phillips, 51, has worked for a number of U.S. Attorneys including Holder, Taylor and Roscoe Howard, and was well respected by staff and the members of the media.

He is one of five candidates vying for the permanent spot.  This appointment could give him an edge in the contest for the coveted position.

Other candidates vying for the job include: Ron Machen, Roy Austin Jr. , Anjali Chaturvedi and Shanlon Wu.

Phillips worked at the Justice Department from 1990 to 1994 and then came to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1994. He worked for Eric Holder, who was U.S. Attorney under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

He is best known publicly as the office press spokesman. He also served as chief of staff under U.S. Attorney Roscoe Howard, who stepped down in 2005.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment and referred calls to the Justice Department, which said an announcement would come later today.

Update 11:50 a.m. : The Justice Department has just issued a press release announcing the appointment. Read Press Release

Homeland Security Launches Tests at 2 Airports to Verify Travel of Foreigners

Jet

The good news is that Homeland Security is continuing to work on airport security. The question is how effective this will be and how long will it take to carry this effort out nationwide? And so far the airlines have refused to participate in this.

By Chris Strohm
CongressDaily
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department launched test programs at two airports today in an attempt to verify when foreigners and legal permanent residents leave the country, but federal officials remain at odds with the airline industry over the effort.

The objective is to develop a system in which fingerprints are collected at every airport from non-U.S. citizens departing the United States. The fingerprints would be used to verify that visitors have not overstayed the time they are allowed to remain in the country.

Congress has been demanding the implementation of such a visa-enforcement process since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The test programs began today at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and will last for 35 days. The testing will compare the process of collecting fingerprints at checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration to having Customs and Border Protection collect fingerprints at gates.

But what is missing is a test to determine the feasibility of having the airlines, as opposed to the government, collect the fingerprints. Congress asked for such a test in its report accompanying the FY09 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

For Full Story

Indicted Chicago Alder. Isaac Carothers Wore FBI Wire

There’s something to be said about tradition in the great city of Chicago. In the last 36 years, 30 sitting or former aldermen have been convicted of  crimes. Obviously Alderman Carothers is all about upholding tradition. His father, a former alderman, went to prison in the 1980s for extortion.  Viva la tradition.

Alderman Isaac Carothers

Alderman Isaac Carothers

BY NATASHA KORECKI, FRAN SPIELMAN AND TIM NOVAK
Chicago Sun-Times
CHICAGO — One of Mayor Daley’s closest allies on the City Council has been wearing a wire and secretly recording “public officials and real estate developers” for more than a year, a City Hall bombshell that was revealed in a federal court document Thursday.

Ald. Isaac “Ike” Carothers (29th) was charged Thursday with fraud and bribery for allegedly accepting $40,000 in home improvements and other gifts from a politically connected developer, but he has been cooperating with the feds since April 2008, according to court papers.

A government motion filed in February asked to keep under seal the indictment of the developer — Calvin Boender — until May. It was unsealed Thursday.

The document identifies Carothers as “Public Official A” — with clear identifiers pointing to him, including a reference to one of his family members running for Congress in 2004.

For Full Story

Read Indictment