Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2009
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for June 18th, 2009

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Gallagher’s Read on the Jefferson Case: Money Talks But So Do Witnesses

Stephanie Gallagher

Stephanie Gallagher

By Stephanie Gallagher
Fraud With Peril Blog

Everyone knows that “money talks.” The biggest problem for former Congressman William J. Jefferson, however, may be that witnesses talk, even if money doesn’t.

The case against Congressman Jefferson is infamous because of $90,000 in cash found in his freezer in 2005. When that money was found, the story was all over the news, and many people believed Jefferson guilty, without hearing anything more.

Most people don’t have $90,000 in their freezers, and it is an easy issue for the general public to grasp. Recognizing that position, in opening statements this week, Jefferson’s defense attorney began by providing his explanation for the “cold hard cash:” the money was provided to Jefferson for a bribe, but Jefferson never intended to bribe the foreign official in question, and simply hid the money from his household employees.

The plausibility of that explanation can be debated (and has been debated vociferously at the Levin & Gallagher water cooler). If the jury believes the defense’s explanation, or, more importantly, believes that the government has failed to prove that the frozen money was intended for a bribe, then acquittal is certainly possible on that count.

The government’s decision not to call the cooperating witness (CW) who provided the $90,000 in marked bills to Jefferson may help the defense’s position (although Jefferson’s recorded phone calls with that CW may still provide compelling evidence).

To Read More

Atty. Gen. Holder Announces that Immigration Agents Will Have More Powers to Fight Violent Drug Cartels

It’s good to respect the autonomy of different law enforcement agencies. But it doesn’t make sense to restrict an agency like ICE from getting more involved in battling drug violence in places like the Mexican border. This move makes sense. What took so long?

border-fence-photo5

DEVLIN BARRETT and EILEEN SULLIVAN
Associated Press Writers
WASHINGTON – More federal agents will be able to investigate drug cases under a new agreement between government agencies battling Mexican cartels, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Wednesday.

Under a new deal aimed at settling a long-running turf dispute with the Drug Enforcement Administration, more agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement would get authority to investigate drug cases.

The new agreement is a victory for ICE, which has long chafed at restrictions on how and when it conducts drug investigations.

It also shows the Obama administration’s willingness to change long-established law enforcement procedures to aid the fight against the powerful and violent drug cartels operating within Mexico.

For Full Story

Read Joint Statement by Justice Dept. and Homeland Security

ANOTHER STORY OF INTEREST

Supreme Court Rules that Inmates Don’t Have a Constitutuional Right to DNA Testing (New York Times)

FBI Tapes Capture ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s Obscenities and Concern About Going to the “Pokey”

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

Ex-Rep. Jefferson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson was swearing. Oh was he swearing. And the FBI was secretly recording it all back in 2005, hoping the day would come when it could play the unflattering tapes to a federal jury in open court.

Thursday was that day.

At one point, on one tape amid the swearing, Jefferson expressed concern about going to prison, or the “pokey” as he put it, if word ever got out about his secret business dealings.

The jury in the public corruption trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria listened to his conversations with headphones as did the bespectacled Jefferson himself.

The 62-year-old looked every bit as dignified as the Harvard lawyer he is, sitting at the defense table, clad in a dark suit, but at times on the FBI  tapes he sounded more like a wayward sailor on a weekend leave.

Read more »

Justice Dept. Corruption Unit in Disarray 2 Months After Stevens Case Imploded

Ted Stevens

Ted Stevens

Unfortunately, the Alaska cases aren’t isolated ones. There are problems around the country. The big questions are: How did things get this way? Who is to blame?
And how long will it take to fix?

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Two months after prosecutors abandoned the criminal conviction of former senator Ted Stevens, the Justice Department unit that polices public corruption remains in chaos, coping with newly discovered evidence that threatens to undermine other cases while department leaders struggle to reshuffle the ranks.

William Welch and Brenda Morris, senior managers in the department’s Public Integrity Section who supervised the case against the Alaska Republican, have been moved into other roles following the transfer this month of two of their subordinates, who worked on lengthy investigations of Alaskan influence peddling, according to four sources.

At the same time, document-sharing lapses that provoked the Stevens turnaround are also affecting other bribery prosecutions in the state, prompting authorities to take the extraordinary step of releasing two Alaska lawmakers from prison late last week. A new team of government lawyers and FBI agents is reviewing thousands of pages of evidence, trying to assuage the concerns of judges and fielding complaints from defense attorneys.

For Full Story

Richard Powers to Head FBI’s Houston Division

houston-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Richard C. Powers, a 19-year veteran of the FBI, and a former state prosecutor, will head up the bureau’s Houston Division

Powers, who last served as assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs at FBI headquarters, replaces Andrew Bland, who retired, the FBI announced on Wednesday.
Powers entered the FBI in 1991 and worked in different offices including headquarters in 1996 where he was assigned to the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime/Drug Section.

From 1998 to 2004, he was assigned to the Houston office where he held jobs that included being detailed to the DEA to supervise a multi-agency major case squad; supervise a FBI-sponsored violent crime task force and work as a supervisory senior resident agent of the Texas City Resident Agency.

He eventually became a assistant special agent in charge in Houston in 2002. He returned to headquarters and later became special agent in charge of the Denver office. He then returned again to headquarters, the  FBI said.

Before joining the FBI, he was a Chicago area cop, a state prosecutor and a civil litigation attorney, the FBI said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sen. Hatch Grills Atty. Gen. Holder Over Raids Involving Native American Artifacts

Sen. Orrin Hatch-official photo
Sen. Orrin Hatch-official photo

Federal law enforcement always feels it’s better to be over prepared for something and come with too many agents  rather than too few agents. But is there such a thing as over kill? Some politicians like Orrin Hatch apparently think so.

By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times
DENVER — Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) on Wednesday grilled Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. on why more than 100 federal agents were needed to round up two dozen suspects accused of stealing Native American artifacts from public land.

The day after last week’s raids, one of the suspects, Dr. James Redd of Blanding in southern Utah, killed himself. Residents and officials in Blanding, where 16 suspects live, complained that authorities used unnecessary force to arrest nonviolent offenders.

“They came in in full combat gear, SWAT team gear, like they were going after, you know, the worst drug dealers in the world,” Hatch said, according to a transcript of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington.

Then, alluding to Redd, he continued, “I have no problem with going after people who violate the law. But they came in there like they were the worst common criminals on earth. And in the process, this man, it became overwhelming to him, I suppose.”

For Full Story