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Archive for August 3rd, 2009

Obama’s Justice Dept. May Be Changing Course on Pornography Cases

hustlerWith all that’s going on in this country — terrorism threats, mortgage fraud, political corruption — it’s not a bad idea for the Justice Dept. to drop this as a high priority.

By Josh Gerstein
Politico

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has quietly agreed to move a pornography prosecution out of socially conservative Montana to more urbane New Jersey – fueling perceptions by some attorneys that the new administration is stepping back from the aggressive approach the Bush administration took to prosecuting obscenity.

“This is a substantial change of position,” said Louis Sirkin, an attorney who has represented many in the pornography industry, including Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. “The new administration has come in there and made a new determination….It certainly is different than what we have seen in the past.”

“I think it has a lot to do with the change in administration,” said a former federal prosecutor, Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School. “It makes you wonder how far they were pushing the envelope before…..These cases are fraught with problems and are not a high priority.”

For Full Story

ATF Busts Gun Traffickers With Possible Link to Mexican Drug Cartel

This certainly won’t put an end to the drug violence, but any bust that possibly involves the Mexican drug cartels is good.

gun

By Ruben Vives
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Four men were taken into federal custody this morning after a raid on a gun-trafficking ring that may be tied to a Mexican drug cartel, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

During the investigation, undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made a series of gun purchases that began in October 2008, according to a criminal complaint.

Several handguns and machine guns, drugs and documents listing the names of customers, as well as distribution locations, were recovered during searches at each of the men’s homes.

Officers and deputies from the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also assisted in the case.

For Full Story

Man Who Threatened Pres. Obama Gets 10 Months of House Arrest

obama-official-photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 21-year-old Texas man man who pleaded guilty in May to sending emails threatening the life of President Obama  eight days before the inauguration, will get 10 months of probation under house arrest, the Associated Press reported.

A Denver judge on Friday gave Timothy Ryan Gutierrez the sentence that also included about a $1,500  payment to the security of the  Mall of America in Minnesota. His emails. which were sent from Colorado to the FBI in Washington, threatened Obama and said that he had planted bombs outside the mall, AP reported.

He could have gotten up to 18 months in prison.

Washington Post Columnists Suggests We’ve Gone Over the Top on Providing Security for Folks Like FBI Dir. Mueller

Have we gone overboard in providing protection for society’s notables? Washington Post columnist David Ignatius suggests we have.

Robert Mueller III

Robert Mueller III

By David Ignatius
Washington Post Columnist
WASHINGTON — It was an unsettling image: Arrayed in front of the neighborhood barbershop last week were four burly men with the characteristic earpieces and bulky suits that marked them as security officers.

Inside, gracing the barber’s chair, was the well-trimmed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller.

Perhaps in today’s Washington, the FBI director truly needs a security detail to protect him when he gets a haircut.

But I wonder. From my vantage, the blatant obviousness of his bodyguards only called attention to him. At the grocery store across the street, he was the talk of the checkout line. “Who’s over at the barbershop?” “The FBI guy, what’s-his-name.” “No way!” People were coming out just to look.

Protecting our public servants is important, to be sure. But we have gotten so cranked up about security in the United States that senior officials travel in cocoons, as if they are under constant threat.

To Read More

Book Claims Secret Service Changed Pres. Motorcade Route Because of Psychic

President Bush

President Bush

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service relying on a psychic?

That’s the claim in a new book by Ronald Kessler “In The President’s Secret Service”.

The Washington Post’s Reliable Source column by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts reports that the Secret Service once changed a motorcade route for President George H.W. Bush in 1992 in Enid, Okla.

The column says the book reported that state law enforcement urged agent Norm Jarvis to talk to a psychic who “told Jarvis she’d had a vision of the president being shot as the motorcade neared an overpass. Her vision made little sense — she saw Bush sitting on the left (he always sat on the right) and wearing an open-neck shirt and light jacket instead of the suit and tie planned for this trip”.

The column went on to say: “But then she accurately predicted which airport hangars housed the presidential limo and helicopter. And then the president stepped off Air Force One in an open-neck shirt and light jacket . . . and THEN slid over to the limo’s left side!

“Kessler writes that the team “decided the psychic could not be ignored,” and rerouted the motorcade away from overpasses. A Secret Service rep told CQ that Kessler’s story “doesn’t make sense” but conceded that Jarvis might have told it.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

N.J. Supreme Rejects New Trial For  Mobster (New Jersey Law Journal)

Terrorism Trial Begins Today in N.Y. For Atlanta Man

When does someone officially become a terrorist? When they train? When they talk about violence? When they’re in the planning stage of an attack? When they belong to a certain group? These are questions that continue to pop up during these type of trials.

new-york-map

By The Associated Press
Jury selection is scheduled to begin in a New York courtroom Monday in the trial of a 23-year-old Atlanta man who prosecutors say tried to aid overseas terrorists.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee could face up to 60 years in prison on four charges that he conspired to help terror suspects wage “violent jihad” on America. Jury selection is expected to last at least a week.

Sadequee has pleaded not guilty. But prosecutors say they have overwhelming evidence against him, including a series of short homemade videos that he and a friend, Syed Haris Ahmed, made of Washington landmarks.

For Full Story

Seattle Bank Teller Nabs Robber and Gets Fired

Sure it seems dangerous for a bank teller to track down a bank robber. But it also seems unfair to fire someone for doing that. If banks are so obsessed with sound policy, why did they get involved in so many reckless hoPistolme loans and sub-prime mortgages?

By Jennifer Sullivan
Seattle Times
SEATTLE — Jim Nicholson knew he should have just handed over the cash.

But when the thin man in a beanie cap, dark clothing and sunglasses pushed a black backpack across the bank counter and demanded money, Nicholson says his instincts took over.

After more than two years working as a teller at the Key Bank branch in Lower Queen Anne, Nicholson clearly understood the bank’s strict policy of quickly complying with robbers’ demands and avoiding confrontation.

Instead, Nicholson threw the bag to the floor, lunged toward the robber and demanded to see a weapon. Surprised, the would-be bank robber backed up and then bolted for the door, with Nicholson on his heels.

Nicholson, 30, chased the man for several blocks before knocking him to the ground with the help of a passer-by. Nicholson then held him until police arrived.

That was Tuesday.

On Thursday, Nicholson was fired.

In a state that consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally in bank robberies, what Nicholson did was not only ill-advised, according to police and the FBI, it was all but unheard of. Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door as quickly as possible and are advised against being a hero over money that’s federally insured.

For Full Story