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Archive for August 28th, 2009

Weekend Series on History: Gangster Bugsy Siegel and the Mob and Las Vegas

Deputy FBI Director John Pistole Appears to be Lead Candidate to Head DEA: White House Vetting Him, Source Says

John Pistole/fbi photo
John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON —  Deputy FBI Director John Pistole appears to be the leading candidate to head the DEA  and is being vetted for the job by the White House, according to a source familiar with the selection process.

Ticklethewire.com reported a month ago that Pistole, who has declined to comment during the selection process, was one of four people interviewed by the White House for the job.

The others include  Boyd M. Johnson III, an assistant U.S. Attorney in N.Y., who was just promoted to the office’s second spot;  former San Diego U.S. Attorney Greg  A. Vega and Michele Leonhart, the DEA’s acting chief. She is generally well regarded within the agency, but has been criticized by some  agents  for being too indecisive in the interim post.

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said Friday evening: “I can’t comment on personnel issues. It would be more appropriate for the White House to comment.”   The White House press office did not immediately return a call for comment.

The prospect of an FBI agent taking over the DEA has been met with mixed reviews from current and former DEA agents. Some  have speculated that  the appointment of an FBI agent might spell the end of the DEA, which would be folded into the FBI.

Read more »

N.Y. Acting U.S. Atty. Andrew Baxter Named U.S. Magistrate

syracuse-mapIf you’re going to land somewhere, this is not a bad place to land.

By Jim O’Hara
The Post-Standard
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Veteran federal prosecutor Andrew T. Baxter has been selected to succeed U.S. Magistrate Judge Gustave J. DiBianco upon DiBianco’s upcoming retirement.

Baxter, 43, has been the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York since September when former U.S. Attorney Glenn Suddaby was appointed a U.S. District Judge.

For Full Story

Appeals Court Upholds Verdict in 4 Men Framed by FBI in 1965 Mob Murder

It’s hard to put a price on a wrongful conviction and a wrongful jailing.

boston

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON—  A federal appeals court upheld yesterday a landmark verdict for four men framed by the FBI in a gangland slaying, although the appellate judges said the $101.7 million damage judgment awarded by a lower court was “at the outer edge of the universe of permissible awards.”

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said the 2007 damage judgment to the families of Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo, believed to be the largest of its kind nationally, was considerably higher than any of the three appellate judges would have ordered.

For Full Story

Read Court Opinion

Feds Won’t Charge N.M. Gov Bill Richardson in “Pay to Play” Probe

Gov. Richardson
Gov. Richardson

This probe not only knocked him out of the presidential race, but certainly gave him plenty of heartburn. Being under federal investigation in a high-profile case has got to be pretty pretty stressful.

By Associated Press
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won’t be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor’s large political donors, someone familiar with the case said.

The decision not to pursue indictments was made by top Justice Department officials, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe.

For Full Story

Gunmen Kill Aide to Mexican Fed Agent Probing Death of Crime Reporter

mexico-map-istock

This murder is just another sign of just how out of control things are south of the border. The first agent assigned to this case was killed last month.

By Associated Press
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico— Gunmen killed the aide of a Mexican federal agent investigating the death of a crime reporter — a month after the first agent assigned to the case was shot dead, authorities said Thursday.

The bullet-riddled body of Pablo Pasillas, 33, was found Wednesday next to a car in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, said Ángel Torres, a spokesman for the federal attorney general’s office.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Showing Some Independence From White House

Whether you agree or not with the decision to name a prosecutor to look into torture methods, it’s heartening to see  Atty. Gen. Eric Holder exercise some independence from the White House. Some folks in Washington had expressed concern that he may not be capable of showing independence.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

By Carrie Johnson and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
WASHINGTON — About five weeks ago, faced with a crucial decision on how to react to brutal CIA interrogation practices, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. concluded that it would be all but impossible to follow President Obama’s mandate to move forward, rather than investigate divisive episodes from the Bush “war on terror.”
This Story

Holder notified the White House that he was reluctantly leaning toward naming a prosecutor to review whether laws had been broken during interrogations — the very thing Obama had said he wanted to avoid. And the word Holder got back, according to people familiar with the conversations, was that the decision was up to him.

The back story to Monday’s appointment of a career prosecutor to review CIA interrogation methods illustrates Holder’s influence in the new administration and sheds light on the emerging and delicate relationship between the White House and the Justice Department.