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Archive for June 10th, 2009

Big or Small Problem? Key Witness Who Wore FBI Wire Won’t Testify in ex-Rep. Jefferson Trial

The questions that looms large: Will it hurt the prosecution not to have the testimony of key witness Lori Mody, who wore an FBI wire? Some say yes. Sure, the prosecution can still play the FBI tapes, but it would be better if Mody testified. The fact she isn’t obviously means there were some big problems going on behind the scenes.
By Bruce Alpert
New Orleans Times-Picayune

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

The case gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in Jefferson's freezer

ALEXANDRIA, VA . — Lori Mody, the Virginia businesswoman who was expected to be the government’s star witness in the federal corruption trial of former Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, will not be called to testify for the prosecution, lawyers said today.

The judge was informed of the government’s decision during a bench conference this morning that was not immediately made public. “We do not intend to call Lori Mody in our case in chief,” lead prosecutor Mark Lytle said without further explanation.

It was Mody who helped spark the investigation of Jefferson after going to the FBI in March 2005 to complain that she was the victim of fraud in African investments being promoted by the congressman. She agreed to wear a wire and the recordings of her meetings with Jefferson are at the heart of much of the government’s case.

For Full Story

A 20-Something Man Dies in Washington area While Taking FBI Physical Stress Test to Become Agent

fbi1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – A man in his 20s who worked for the D.C. Inspector General’s Office collapsed and died Wednesday in suburban Virginia while taking a FBI physical stress test to become an agent, according to sources familiar with the incident.

Lloyd Hodge, a special agent with the D.C. Inspector General’s Office, was going through the steps necessary to become an FBI agent, which included the physical test on Wednesday.

The FBI declined to comment on Wednesday.

The incident happened in the  Tysons Corner area  in Fairfax County outside of Washington, according to sources familiar with the incident.

An 88-Year-Old White Supremacist Opens Fire at Holocaust Museum in D.C. and Kills Guard

holocaust-museum-2

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — An 88-year-old man with ties to white supremacists entered the U.S. Holocaust Museum on 14th Street in downtown Washington shortly after noon Wednesday and opened fire and killed a  guard, law enforcement authorities said.

Two other guards returned the  fire and struck the shooter, seriously wounding him, according to Sgt. David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police.

The gunman was identified  by law enforcement as   James W. von Brunn, 88, who is known to authorities as a white supremacist. The Washington Post reported that on ” a Web site he apparently maintains extolling a “Holy Western Empire,” von Brunn says he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked for 20 years as an advertising executive and film producer in New York and then became “an artist and author” living on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.”

OTHER REPORTS

Washington Post
New York Times

Gunman With White Supremacist Ties Exchanges Gunfire at D.C. Holocaust Museum

Brian Truchon to Head FBI Kansas City Division

istock_000008771009xsmallBy Allan  Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Brian Truchon,  chief of  the Operational Support Section in the Criminal investigative Division at FBI headquarters, has been named the special agent in charge of the  agency’s Kansas City Division.

Truchon,  a native of Illinois, replaces Monte C. Strait, who is retiring.

Truchon entered the FBI academy in 1987 and was first assigned to the Salt Lake City Division, where he investigated white collar crimes and narcotics, the FBI said. In 1991, he went off to the  Los Angeles office to work on terrorism and gang investigations.

During that time, as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, he led the Los Angeles Riots Civil Unrest investigation, the FBI said.

In 1996,  he came to FBI headquarters in  the Criminal Investigative Division’s Safe Streets and Gang Unit and later went on to Phoenix, and then Portland where he was an assistant special agent in charge. He then returned to headquarters as an inspector in charge and was assigned as the director of the MS-13 National Gang Task Force , the FBI said.

In 2007, the FBI said, he was promoted to chief of the Operational Support Section in the Criminal Investigative Division.

Ex-FBI Agent Who Leaked Document to Actress Linda Fiorentino Trying to Rebuild his Life

Mark Rossini (left)/YouTube

Mark Rossini (left)/YouTube

By Rachel Leven
ticklethewire.com
Mark Rossini, the ex- FBI agent who was busted for illegally leaking FBI documents to his lover, actress Linda Fiorentino, is working to rebuild his life in the civilian world, according to federal court documents.

The 47-year-old native New Yorker, who now lives in New Orleans, is building a corporate risk management company that will require overseas travel, court documents show. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola on June 1 granted him permission to travel overseas with less than 30 days advance notice.

The outgoing Rossini was sentenced  May 14 to one year probation and fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to five counts of computer criminal access of FBI files. As part of the sentence, he was required to give 30-days notice before traveling overseas.

In court papers, his attorney Adam S. Hoffinger said Rossini needed the flexibility “in order to be able to work and support himself and continue to meet his financial obligations to pay child support and alimony.”

The court documents did not disclose the name of Rossini’s company, but someone familiar with it said it was MTR Associates – the initials standing for: Mark Thomas Rossini. As an FBI agent, Rossini had traveled overseas to do consulting for law enforcement.

He ended his 17-year FBI career in December after pleading guilty. Court documents show that he leaked a document to Linda Fiorentinto, who was trying to help her friend, rogue detective Anthony Pellicano, who was eventually convicted of illegally spying on some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Since leaving the FBI, Rossini has been working with  ex-New Orleans FBI special agent in charge Jim Bernazzani, who is president of the non-profit agency, Youth Rescue Initiative Office in New Orleans.

The office manager Jessica Cook said Rossini was a manager at the agency and is currently working on a book drive. Rossini and his attorney could not be reached for comment.

L.A. Judge Drops Key Convictions in Racketeering Case After Feds Discover Tape Beneficial to Defense

George Torres

George Torres

This case was considered a tough one, which made it all the more gratifying for federal prosecutors when they emerged victorious. Now it’s an embarrassment. The prosecution said it just discovered a tape recording that was helpful to the defense. On Tuesday, the judge took action.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge  today tossed out two of the most serious convictions in the racketeering case against supermarket mogul George Torres, dramatically reducing the amount of time Torres faces behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ordered Torres released immediately on the condition he sign papers stating he would attend future hearings in the case.

The judge issued the order after federal prosecutors over the weekend turned over tape recordings of at least one key informant in the case that contained potentially exculpatory evidence.

The judge’s ruling marks a serious blow to prosecutors who last month won a conviction against Torres. Before the judge’s action, Torres faced a potential life sentence. With two of most serious convictions dismissed, Torres potential sentence will likely be significantly shorter. Authorities could not immediately say how much prison time he might face.

The convictions voided by Wilson were at the heart of the government’s case — racketeering and conspiracy, including murder.

For Full Story

Ex-Chicago U.S. Atty. Edward V. Hanrahan Dead at Age 88

chicagomap

Hanrahan served as U.S. Attorney in the 1960s before becoming  Cook County State’s Attorney.

By The Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — Edward V. Hanrahan’s promising political career ended in a hail of gunfire, when officers from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office killed two Black Panthers in a pre-dawn raid on Dec. 4, 1969.

A firestorm of controversy and years of court hearings followed. Mr. Hanrahan, who had once been seen as a potential mayor or governor, was defeated by a Republican in a bid for reelection as the county’s top prosecutor in 1972.

Indicted on conspiracy charges as a result of the Panthers raid but later cleared, Mr. Hanrahan never again held elected office.

Mr. Hanrahan, 88, died today. His death was confirmed by Peterson Funeral Home in Chicago, which is handling arrangements. The cause of death and other details were not immediately available.

For Full Story