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Archive for June 12th, 2009

Tulsa U.S. Atty. David O’Meilia Stepping Down

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Tulsa U.S. Attorney David E. O’Meilia is stepping down June 28, adding to the  growing number of  Bush-appointed U.S. Attorneys who have resigned in recent months,  the Associated Press reported.

The 57-year-old first served as acting U.S. Attorney in October 2001 and was confirmed in January 2002.tulsa He will return to private practice in Tulsa, the wire service reporter.

O’Meilia has been practicing law in Oklahoma for more than 30 years. He started out in October 1976 as an assistant public defender in Tulsa County, according to his biography posted on the U.S. Attorney website.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Son of Holocaust Museum Shooter Condemns Father in Statement to ABC News

Convicted Ex-NBA Ref Tim Donaghy Says He Was Beaten By Inmate With Mob Ties

In the old days, referee Tim Donaghy stood up to some of the toughest guys in the NBA, and all he had was a whistle and a striped shirt that gave him plenty muscle. But in prison, the only whistle Donaghy may be hearing is from another inmate interested in him.

Tim Donaghy/nbc sports

Tim Donaghy/nbc sports

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

Tim Donaghy, the ex-NBA referee serving 15 months for his part in a betting scheme, has told a consultant he hired that he was beaten in prison by an inmate with connections to the New York mob.

Next week, Donaghy, whose sentence at the federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla., is set to expire in October, will enter a halfway house in Tampa, Fla., a process aimed at easing his post-release transition.

Yesterday’s news came not from federal prison officials but via a press release from Executive Prison Consultants, a company that serves as an advocate for federal prisoners.

According to that release, Donaghy was injured in a November assault by a fellow inmate “claiming ties to the New York mob.” That prisoner beat Donaghy with a heavy object, causing severe knee and leg injuries that will require surgery.

For Full Story

FBI and NYPD Train For Terror Attacks

nypd-badge1No matter how many times you do it, you can’t train enough for a terrorism attack. There’s always variables that can arise during the real thing that never came up during training. The more you train, the more variables you can anticipate.

By Tom Hays
Associated Press
NEW YORK
— The FBI was scrambling.

Agents had intercepted information about a possible terrorist attack in Manhattan, including a diagram showing a mysterious device. The raw intelligence was relayed to experts in Washington, who offered a daunting diagnosis: “You have a problem.”

As chilling as that sounded, the situation wasn’t real. But authorities say it could be, and what followed over the next two days was an ambitious stress test of the city’s line of defense against a radiological or nuclear terrorist attack.

The exercise earlier this week involved hundreds of New York Police Department officers and FBI agents trained at detecting threats, along with an elite unit of federal weapons experts expected – with the approval of the U.S. attorney general – to swoop in by plane and defuse them.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Boston Judge Orders Govern. to Pay $6.25 Mil As a Result of FBI’s Ties to Mobster Informants

The embarrassing fallout from the FBI’s shady  relationship with mobster/informants like Whitey Bulger and “Rifleman” Flemmi continues to haunt the agency. Here’s the latest blow.

By Shelley Murphy
Boston Globe Staff
The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

The "Rifleman" Flemmi in 1965

BOSTON — After years of legal maneuverings by Justice Department lawyers and a three-day nonjury trial, a federal judge ordered the government to pay $6.25 million to the widow and children of Richard J. Castucci, a Revere nightclub owner whose slaying was orchestrated by two of the FBI’s most prized informants, James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.

Last year, a judge found that the FBI was to blame in the 1976 killing.

“I’m just glad it’s over, that’s all,” said Sandra Castucci, 72, shaking as she wiped away tears and was hugged by her children after leaving the courtroom.

The Castuccis’ wrongful death suit was the third case brought on behalf of victims of Bulger and Flemmi to make it to trial, and all have ended with significant judgments against the government.

For Full Story

Las Vegas Fed Prosecutor Subpoeanas Info on People Who Commented on Article

Las Vegas Sign 1

There’s a balance between justice and respecting the independence of the press. In this case, it appears the Justice Department may have gone too far.

By Farhan Daredia
Main Justice

Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Damm has served up a grand jury subpoena to the Las Vegas Review-Journal seeking identifying information of people who commented on a May 26 article about an ongoing tax evasion trial.

One commenter who used the name “Louis D. Brandeis” called Damm, the prosecutor, “evil incarnate and everything that is against the American justice system.” Others expressed anti-government sentiment of the kind that seems to flourish in the West.

The paper’s editor Thomas Mitchell wrote about the subpoena in his weekly column:

What the prosecutors don’t appear to understand is that we don’t have most of what they are seeking. We don’t require registration. A person could use a fictitious name and e-mail address, and most do. We have no addresses or phone numbers.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Poor Economy Exposing More Ponzi Schemes

It seems every week word of another P0nzi scheme seems to surface. Why? As the phrase went in the 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy stupid”.

Ponzi Scheme Poster Child Bernie Madoff

Ponzi Scheme Poster Child Bernie Madoff

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The great recession has decimated many industries; home builders, automakers and bankers are obvious casualties.

Now, add Ponzi schemers to the list.

Ravaged by the same fiscal turbulence pounding the nation’s legitimate businesses, Ponzi operations have been collapsing at a record clip, exposing prolific, rampant and colossal frauds that have bilked investors of billions of dollars.

For Full Story

FBI Was Aware of Holocaust Museum Shooter But Had No Open Investigation

FBI's Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo
FBI’s Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo

With economy in the dumps and the election of a first African American president, we can expect to see more of the white supremacist movement. We need to keep a closer eye on these groups and individuals who continue to spew hate. As a side note, it’s sad that an 88-year-old man missed the point of life and continued to hate so late in life.

In a statement yesterday, Joseph Persichini Jr., head of the FBI’s Washington field office said: “The FBI did not have an open investigation on Mr. von Brunn, but we were aware of him and that he had a website that espoused hatred against various groups and government entities. Law enforcement is challenged every day to balance the civil liberties of U.S. citizens against the need to investigate activities of possible criminal conduct. No matter how offensive to some, we are keenly aware that expressing views by itself is not a crime and the protections afforded under the Constitution cannot be compromised.”

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — The FBI was “aware” of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting suspect and his history of hateful writings about religious and ethnic minorities, but authorities had not opened a criminal investigation of him before Wednesday’s deadly attack, officials said yesterday.

The case of James W. von Brunn, who had a decades-old felony conviction for storming the Federal Reserve headquarters in a bid to kidnap board members and propagate his views against blacks and Jews, underscores the challenge that a rising tide of Web-based white supremacists poses to law enforcement, which walks a fine line between policing potential violence and respecting free speech, experts say.

Authorities including the Department of Homeland Security and police in New York and Los Angeles asked for help from Jewish leaders and maintained heightened patrols yesterday around synagogues and universities.

In an e-mail alert to state and local agencies Wednesday after von Brunn allegedly shot and killed a Holocaust museum guard, Homeland Security and the FBI wrote that “this appears to be an isolated incident” involving a lone suspect that appeared to have no connection to terrorism. In a statement yesterday, the FBI called the shooting a case of “domestic terrorism,” and Homeland Security said the earlier statement was premature.

For Full Story