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Archive for June 17th, 2009

Convicted Businessman Delivers Some Blows in ex-Rep. Jefferson’s Corruption Trial

Ex-Rep. William Jefferson
Ex-Rep. William Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – He was a presence on the witness stand; a burly man with shaved head, glasses, facial hair and strong voice, dressed in a faded forest green prison jumpsuit with the word “Prisoner” barely legible on the back. He exuded the confidence of the businessman he once was before heading off to federal prison for bribing a Congressman named William J. Jefferson.

Time after time on Wednesday, for the second day in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the government’s key witness Vernon L. Jackson, 58, steadily delivered damaging blows, saying Jefferson had essentially lied and deceived and lied some more.

Yes, he said, Jefferson had a hidden financial interest in his Kentucky-based high tech company i-Gate. Yes, he paid bribes to Jefferson to influence foreign leaders to promote his company that was selling technology to transmit the Internet and cable television in rural Africa.

Yes, he said, Jefferson was using his Congressional position in exchange for money. And Yes, Jackson knew it was wrong to pay a Congressman to promote his business. For the jurors, his prison suit was a pretty good reminder of his crime.

And oh yes. He hoped to shave some serious time off his 7-plus years prison sentence by cooperating with the government. That was the agreement when he pleaded guilty.

The testimony was not good for Jefferson, 62, a Harvard lawyer who was once unbeatable as a Congressman – that is until 2005 when the FBI found $90,000 of marked FBI bills in his freezer. The jokes never stopped. And nearly two years later, a big fat indictment followed : 16 public corruption counts that included allegations of  accepting hundreds of thousands of dollar. Last year, he lost in a bid for re-election.

Read more »

Philly Cop Charged With Leaking Info About Drug Raid: Ex-NBA Star Implicated But not Charged

philly-map1

In the NBA, it’s a good thing when you pass the ball and get an assist. But in this case, an assist was not a good thing. Ex- NBA player Jerome “Pooh” Richardson assisted a major drug kingpin by passing on info about a federal raid. He has not been charged.

By MARYCLAIRE DALE
Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA — Former NBA player Jerome “Pooh” Richardson passed along a tip from a police officer friend that federal agents were about to raid the home his half-sister shared with a drug kingpin, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Richardson, 43, is not charged in the indictment, which accuses only the Philadelphia detective with criminal wrongdoing. The officer, Rickie Durham, is a longtime friend of Richardson’s who received a car, event tickets and other expensive gifts from the athlete over the years, the document said.

Prosecutors declined to say whether Richardson is cooperating or whether he broke the law in relaying the tip.

For Full Story

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Calls for New Hate Crime Laws

Hate crimes continue to fuel a surge of violence in this country. Atty. Gen. Holder wants some tougher laws. That’s not asking too much.

hate-photo-of-hand

BY LARRY MARGASAK AND DEVLIN BARRETT
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – Citing recent killings in Arkansas, Kansas and the nation’s capital, Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday new hate crimes laws were needed to stop what he called “violence masquerading as political activism.”

Holder’s call for Congress to act came as a civil rights coalition said there has been a surge in white supremacist activity since the election of the first African-American president and the economic downturn.

“Over the last several weeks, we have witnessed brazen acts of violence committed in places that many would have considered unthinkable,” Holder told the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

He cited separate attacks over two weeks that killed a young soldier in Little Rock, an abortion provider in Wichita and a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Federal agents and prosecutors are involved in the local investigations of those attacks.

For Full Story

Read Text of Holder’s Speech

Reagan Assailant John Hinckley Can Get D.C. Driver’s License and Spend More Time With Mother

Nearly 30 years after he shot President Reagan, John Hinckley’s whereabouts and movements are still of interest to the public. After all this time, the question is: How dangerous is he?

John Hinckley Jr. -abc news photo

John Hinckley Jr. -abc news photo

By Del Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr. will be allowed to obtain a D.C. driver’s license and spend more time at his mother’s home in Virginia under a ruling yesterday by a federal judge.

The decision is the latest in recent years expanding privileges for Hinckley, who has been held at St. Elizabeths Hospital since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1981 shooting of President Ronald Reagan, his press secretary and two law enforcement officers.

The psychiatric hospital is seeking to gradually increase Hinckley’s freedom so that doctors can evaluate whether he is nearing the point where he can be released and live independently with his mother in the Williamsburg area.

For Full Story

Read Judge’s Opinion on Hinckley

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Did Fed Agents in Utah Use Too Much Force in Raids Involving Ancient Artifacts?

The arrests may have made news because of the artifacts involved, but the force used by agents during the raids has raised concern from various people including U.S. Senators.

utah
By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times
BLANDING, Utah — Shortly after sunrise last week, a squad of flak-jacketed federal agents surrounded the remote home of Dr. James Redd, arrested his wife and then stopped the 60-year-old doctor as he returned from his morning rounds to arrest him as well.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar flew to Salt Lake City to announce the indictments of the Redds and 22 others — 16 of them Blanding residents — in what he called the biggest bust ever of thieves who take ancient Native American artifacts from public lands, often from sacred burial sites.

The backlash started soon after, and not just because of the arrest of James and Jeanne Redd.

Another group of agents had yanked Nick Laws, 30, from his home with such force that they broke some of his toes, local officials say. Nearly 20 agents had surrounded a pair of mobile homes belonging to septuagenarian brothers and led them away in cuffs.

Local authorities called the raids overkill. The county sheriff, whose brother was among those charged, launched his own investigation into how suspects were treated.

For Full Story