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Archive for May 31st, 2009

How a Swaggering Ex-Federal Prosecutor Paul Bergrin, Son of a Cop, Allegedly Went Bad

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

Paul Bergrin/photo News12 New Jersey

This is a fascinating story that has all the markings of great movie. But federal authorities don’t see it as entertaining, nor amusing.

By Joe Ryan
Newark Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Last August, authorities say, Paul Bergrin traveled from Newark to Chicago hoping to meet a hit man.

Bergrin, who investigators describe as a go-to lawyer for Newark street gangs, was working on the case of an alleged Monmouth County cocaine kingpin. Authorities say the attorney wanted someone in Chicago to silence a potential witness.

That would-be triggerman, however, wound up working on a different case. He was an informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. And his case was against Bergrin.

After years of investigating, the DEA and the FBI arrested the 53-year-old lawyer May 20 on charges of running a wide-ranging criminal operation that included racketeering, mortgage fraud and employing nefarious and sometimes murderous tactics to shield his clients from prosecution.

For Full Story

Read Paul Bergrin Indictment

Secret Service: What it Takes to Protect the President

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Lawyers for Arizona Sheriff Insist Homeland and Justice Probes Politically Motivated

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Does the sheriff have a legit beef or is he just trying to create a smoke screen to cover up his wrongdoings? That is the question.

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers

The lawyers representing a controversial Arizona sheriff who is under investigation for his treatment of Latino residents accused officials in the Justice and Homeland Security departments yesterday of political motivations in pursuing probes against their client.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and his office, which have drawn widespread attention for an unorthodox approach to crime and punishment, are the focus of three federal investigations into whether they violated federal rules or civil rights laws in pursuing illegal immigrants.

For Full Story

Obama Admin Insists It Has No Obligation to Provide Secret Info in Wiretap Case

top-secretThe Obama administration, which has been advocating transparency in general, is advocating secrecy in this instance. Let’s see what happens here.

By The Associated Press
Washington – The Obama administration insists it has no obligation to provide access to a top secret document in a wiretapping case, setting up a showdown next week with the judge who ordered it released.

Justice Department lawyers, in a response filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, also argued that Judge Vaughn Walker had no cause to penalize the government for its refusal to turn over the document.

Walker on May 22 threatened to punish the administration for withholding the document, which he ordered given to lawyers suing the government over its warrantless wiretapping program.

For Full Story

President Obama to Appoint Cybersecurity Czar

computer1

From the Pentagon and utility companies to Obama’s own campaign headquarters, hackers have been making Swiss cheese out of our cyber-security. Appointing a leader to guard against this new threat to our nation will hopefully lead to standardization of our nation’s digital defenses and better ways to keep our nation’s secrets safe.

CNN
WASHINGTON – President Obama announced Friday he is creating the post of cyber security coordinator to oversee “a new comprehensive approach to securing America’s digital infrastructure.”

The president said he will personally select the person who takes on that post and “will depend on this official” in all matters related to online security.

Tackling the economic crisis cannot be done without ensuring the safety of online activities, Obama said.

“I know how it feels” to have online privacy violated, the president said.

He referred to last year’s hacking of computers at his campaign headquarters. The hackers did not access databases containing information about campaign donors, but did gain access to policy position papers and travel plans, Obama said.

For Full Story