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Archive for August 10th, 2009

L.A. U.S. Atty. Thomas O’Brien to Step Down in September

U.S. Atty. O'Brien

U.S. Atty. O'Brien

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien of Los Angles is stepping down, effective Sept. 1, to join a private law firm, the Los Angles Times reported.

Thom Mrozek, an office spokesman, said O’Brien will be joining the Paul Hastings law firm, the paper said.

O’Brien, a former Navy Top Gun instructor, took office in October 2007. His office undertook a number of high profile cases including the molestations by priests in the local Achdiocese.

Meanwhile, in Scranton, Pa., federal prosecutor Dennis Pfannenschmidt will step up as the interim U.S. Attorney, replacing  Martin Carlson, who resigned Saturday.

Ex-Atty. Gen. Gonzales Tells N.Y. Times He Hasn’t Spoken To Bush Since Pres Left Office or Gotten a Job Offer From Law Firm

Alberto Gonzales
Alberto Gonzales

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Sadly, Alberto Gonzales was one of the worst U.S. Attorney General’s this country has ever had.

Gonzales, who has taken a teaching job at Texas Tech, told the New York Times that he has not been offered a job at any law firms since leaving his post, and he has not spoken to President Bush since the Bush left office.

Here are some questions and answers from an interview with the New York Times’ Deborah Solomon.
Isn’t there still an ongoing investigation by a special prosecutor who was appointed last year to look into the removal of the attorneys?
I wish I could comment on that, but because it’s an ongoing investigation, I cannot.

Would you agree that your reputation was damaged by your service as attorney general?
It has had an effect, a negative effect, no question about it, and at times it makes me angry because it is undeserved. But I don’t want to sound like I am whining. At the end of the day, I’ve been the attorney general of the United States. It’s a remarkable privilege, and I stand behind my service.

Has any law firm offered you a job since you left the White House?
Listen, I’ve had some interest and I’ve had some discussions, but there has been no offer made. In a tough economic climate, I can understand why a company or a firm would want to make sure that the investigations are complete and there is no finding of wrongdoing before they make a hiring decision.

Do you still talk to President Bush?
I have not spoken with the president since he left office.

Have you ever been tempted to pick up the phone and say hi to him?
I do, of course, think about our time together, and there are times when I think about doing that. But listen, I know that he has his life to live. I’ve got challenges and my life to live as well.

To Read Full Interview

And Now the Next Jefferson: Ex-Rep. William Jefferson’s Brother Mose Goes on Trial

This is not pretty. After just convicting ex-Rep. William Jefferson for public corruption, his brother Mose is going on trial for bribery. Jefferson’s sister and niece also await trial on public corruption charges. And by the way, William Jefferson’s brother Mose probably should have been indicted in his brother’s public corruption case, but for some reason wasn’t.

new-orleans-map-istock

By Laura Maggi
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — Less than a week after his brother, former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, was convicted of public corruption, Mose Jefferson is scheduled to go to trial today on charges he bribed a former Orleans Parish School Board president.

When proceedings open at the federal courthouse on Poydras Street, close attention will be given to whether jurors carry a bias against Mose Jefferson.

The defense on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to postpone or move the trial, citing the cascade of publicity after the verdicts — 11 of them convictions — last week in William Jefferson’s corruption trial in Virginia.

Lemmon denied the request, but she said questioning of potential jurors “will reveal the extent of prejudice, if any” resulting from news media coverage of William Jefferson’s trial.

For Full Story

Next N.Y. U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara Praised for Being Apolitical

It’s heartening to hear that Preet Bharara has a reputation for being apolitical when it comes to doing his job. Then again, we should assume that’s how all U.S. Attorneys will operate.

scales-of-justice1

By BENJAMIN WEISER
The New York Times
NEW YORK –– He worked for one of the most partisan Democratic senators in Washington, and a few years ago helped to uncover political maneuverings by the Justice Department in the administration of President George W. Bush.

But perhaps the most telling aspect about Preet Bharara, the next United States attorney in Manhattan, may be how he managed to win the trust and respect of even those who might have been his natural opponents.

Mr. Bharara, who served as the chief counsel to Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, played a major role in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the firings of United States attorneys around the country.

As he took sworn testimony from witnesses, handled the issuance of subpoenas and negotiated with administration officials over the production of documents and other materials, he drew praise for his evenhanded approach.

He even won over one fired prosecutor, David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, a Republican who said he had wavered over whether to testify voluntarily before the panel, fearing that it would degenerate into a “partisan circus.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

The Growing Problem: U.S. Border Agents For Sale

Border Patrol

The drug trade along the Mexican border continues to show disturbing signs of corruption and death. Apparently some U.S. Border agents can be bought. That is very very dangerous.

By The Associated Press
McALLEN, Texas — Corruption along the U.S.-Mexican border takes many forms.

It can start as simply as a smuggler’s $50 gift to the child of a reluctant federal agent, quickly escalating to out-and-out bribes.

”Everyone does it,” the agent, now in prison, recalls telling himself. Other times, county sheriffs greedily grab thousands from drug dealers. In a few instances, traffickers even place members in the applicant pool for sensitive border protection jobs.

An Associated Press investigation has found U.S. law officers who work the border are being charged with criminal corruption in numbers not seen before, as drug and immigrant smugglers use money and sometimes sex to buy protection, and internal investigators crack down.

For Full Story