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Archive for October 16th, 2009

Former Bush White House Official Gets 1 Year For Lying About Ties to Disgraced Lobbyist Jack Abramoff

David Safavian/ gov photo

David Safavian/ gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The taint of lobbyist Jack Abramoff  surfaced again when a federal judge on Friday sentenced a former Bush White House official to one year in prison for lying about his ties to Abramhoff.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman sentenced David H. Safavian, former General Services Administration (GSA) Chief of Staff, and admonished him for not recognizing right from wrong. Safavian eventually left GSA to become the  Bush White House chief procurement officer.

To date, 20 people including lobbyists and public officials have pleaded guilty, been convicted or are awaiting trial in connection with the probe into crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is serving a four year prison term for corruption related charges on top of the 22 months he had already served prior to sentencing, according to a U.S. Attorney press release.

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Feds Bust Up $20 Million Hedge Fund Insider Trading Scheme Using Wiretaps

This not only was notable for its size, but for the fact it was the first time the feds got court authorized wiretaps for Wall Street hot shots.

wall-street

BY Jose Martinez
NY DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
NEW YORK — A piggish hedge fund hotshot who ranks among the world’s richest men was charged by the feds Friday with making millions of dollars on insider-trading tips.

Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the New York-based Galleon Group, was among six people charged in what federal prosecutors labeled the largest-ever hedge fund insider-trading case.

“The defendants operated in a cozy world of you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference announcing the arrests.

Rajaratnam, who Forbes ranked as No. 559 on its 2009 list of the world’s billionaires, was snared in a $20 million insider-trading case touted by the authorities for its first-ever use of court-authorized wiretaps against Wall Street big wheels.

For Full Story

Interesting Twist: Sammy the Bull Might Testify on Behalf of Mobster Gotti Jr

sammy-the-bullBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Salvatore “Sammy Bull” Gravano, the legendary mob snitch who helped convict his boss John Gotti, may get an opportunity to help  John Gotti Jr. who is on trial in N.Y., according to the website Gang Land News.

The website, written by mob-beat  reporter Jerry Capeci, reports that the defense may call Sammy the Bull as a witness to refute allegations that Gotti Jr. supervised the 1990 murder of a Gambino wise guy Louis DiBono who poppa Gotti wanted dead.

“In interviews with the FBI, and from the witness stand at several trials, Sammy Bull testified that he oversaw the October 4, 1990 murder of Louis DiBono,” Gangland news reports. ” At no time did he ever include Junior as a participant in the slaying, one of three murders included in the current case, and that could be of crucial help for the defense in Gotti IV.”

Gotti Jr. is accused of racketeering and murder and all things mobsters do to run an enterprise. It is his fourth trial in five years. The other three trials ended in a mistrial.

LA Times Editorial: Feds Need to Crackdown on Illegal Gun Sales at Gun Shows

gun

By The Los Angeles Times
Editorial Page
LOS ANGLES — For shock value, they may not rank with the videos released last month showing ACORN workers giving tax advice to a couple of undercover investigators posing as a prostitute and her pimp. But New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s covert recordings of what really goes on at gun shows are appalling nonetheless.

In the midst of a reelection campaign in a Democratic-majority city, the Republican (sort of) Bloomberg has latched on to an issue that appeals mainly to liberals: gun control.

Though New York state has fairly restrictive gun laws, Bloomberg believes firearms bought out of state play a big role in Gotham’s crime problems. So he sent private investigators to seven gun shows in three states between May and August and posted the results, including video shot with hidden cameras, on a city-sponsored website.

“So no background check, right?” the investigators ask. “Because I probably couldn’t pass one.” The response, over and over, is laughter, a shrug or even admissions from gun sellers that they couldn’t pass one either. Out of 30 vendors approached, 19 sold guns to people they knew were barred from owning them.

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Jury Deadlocks in Trial of Abramoff Associate

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff became the poster child for lobbyist/political corruption on Capitol Hill. His associate Kevin Ring is lucky to have gotten off with a mistrial. It’s not likely that the government will go after him again considering that the jury deadlocked on all 8 counts–unless the votes on some or all of the counts were leaning heavily in favor of conviction.

istock photo

istock photo

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in the prosecution of former lobbyist Kevin Ring after jurors deadlocked on charges that he lavished meals and concert tickets on public officials in the hope of illegally influencing them.

After hearing testimony for four weeks at the District’s federal court, jurors deliberated for eight days but could not reach a verdict on any of the eight charges of conspiracy, providing an illegal gratuity or honest services fraud. Federal prosecutors indicated they would seek another trial.

Ring, 38, was a close associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, one of 16 people who pleaded guilty to participating in a pay-to-play corruption scam that involved members of Congress, their staffers and officials in the executive branch. Ring and federal prosecutors declined to comment.

For Full Story