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Archive for June 24th, 2009

Is Justice Dept. Covering for Saudis Links to Terrorism?

saudi-flagU.S. relations with the Saudis is obviously important. But is it worth covering up that nation’s ties to terrorism? And is it worth compromising the integrity of the Justice Department, which is deeply involved in the fight against terrorism?

By Eric Lichtblau
New York Times
WASHINGTON – Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles.

The case has put the Obama administration in the middle of a political and legal dispute, with the Justice Department siding with the Saudis in court last month in seeking to kill further legal action.

Adding to the intrigue, classified American intelligence documents related to Saudi finances were leaked anonymously to lawyers for the families. The Justice Department had the lawyers’ copies destroyed and now wants to prevent a judge from even looking at the material.

For Full Story

Read Documents Showing Links

Internet Spam King Pleads Guilty in Detroit

As punishment, the man should have to read spam all day — and while he’s at it — eat spam.spam-can

By BEN SCHMITT
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — The feds once called him the spam king.

On Monday, Alan Ralsky took on the new title of convicted felon after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit to sending millions of unsolicited e-mail in a stock-fraud scheme that netted him $2.7 million in the summer of 2005.

An indictment charged that Ralsky, 63, of West Bloomfield; his son-in-law, Scott Bradley, and others used unsolicited e-mail to pump up the price of penny stock in Chinese companies to artificially high prices and then sold it.

For Full Story

Feds Charge Seattle Thai Restaurant Chain Owner With Sham Marriages

Sure love is blind. But federal authorities aren’t. And they say some folks here were ordering up sham marriages.

seattle-map1

By GENE JOHNSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
SEATTLE
— The owner of a Seattle area chain of Thai restaurants pleaded not guilty Tuesday to paying four of her workers to enter into sham marriages allowing three of her relatives and another Thai national to stay in the U.S.

Varee Bradford, who operates five Thai Ginger restaurants, was arrested Tuesday on one count of immigration fraud conspiracy and three counts of immigration document fraud. She was released on her own recognizance after entering her plea in U.S. District Court.

A grand jury indictment says three workers were paid $10,000 to more than $20,000. Another, who had been promoted to management, was loaned $3,780. The three men and one woman allegedly were told the marriages would only have to last two years, until their spouses received green cards.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Executions on Hold in Missouri During Federal Review (AP)
53 Indicted in $50 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme (Detroit Free Press)

FBI Agents Collecting Data From New Orleans City Hall

new-orleans-map-istockIf any FBI office is busy with public corruption, it’s New Orleans. The presence of FBI agents at city hall comes as the state’s infamous ex-Rep. William J. Jefferson is on trial in Alexandria, Va., on public corruption charges.

By David Hammer
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — FBI agents have been in New Orleans City Hall since Friday collecting data from computer-network servers and backup tapes, according to a city official familiar with the investigation.

Five federal agents have tied up the work of management information systems employees as they comb through the data stored on the servers. The agents are expected to be in City Hall all week, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous because the investigation has not been made public.

The agents came bearing federal subpoenas seeking information and met with Chief Administrative Officer Brenda Hatfield, the source said.

City spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett on Tuesday evening stopped just short of denying that a federal subpoena had been served at City Hall.

For Full Story

The Latest from the Jefferson Trial (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Fed Prosecutor Says Holocaust Museum Shooter Still Too Ill for Court Appearance

I imagine some white supremacists are proud that 88-year-old James W. von Brunn shot and killed a black man at a Jewish museum. But are they still proud of him now that the FBI has found child pornography on his computer?

holocaust-museum-2

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The 88-year-old white supremacist charged with murder in the killing of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this month was discharged from George Washington University Hospital last week but is too ill to appear in court, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

Since Friday, James W. von Brunn has been treated in a secure ward at United Medical Center, authorities said. At a brief hearing yesterday, federal prosecutor Nicole Waid said doctors indicated that von Brunn might be well enough to attend a court hearing early next week.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola set a hearing for Tuesday morning.

For Full Story

D.C. ATF Agent Faced With Choice: Pull Gun or Call For Help and Chase Suspects

Most law enforcement agents and officers are faced with the dilemma at some point or another: pull out the gun and fight it out or call for back up and follow the suspects. ATF Agent Bill Crummett had to make that decision.

capitol1By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Bill Crummett had just spent hours organizing federal agents to investigate a fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum when an unrelated burst of gunfire flashed before his eyes.

It happened June 10, hours after the museum violence, as Crummett’s car was stopped at a light a few blocks north of the Capitol.

Two pedestrians in a crosswalk at First and M streets NW pulled out semiautomatic handguns and opened fire on a third man, who was wounded and scrambled for cover behind a sport-utility vehicle. The assailants then hid their weapons in their waistbands, leaving Crummett to make a split-second decision: Engage and risk a firefight or call for help.

For Full Story