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Archive for November 11th, 2009

Gotti Case Goes to Jury; Gotti Pulls Last Minute Drama

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

John Gotti Jr./cbs news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The case against mobster John Gotti Jr. went to the jury for deliberations  in Manhattan federal court, but not before  some last minute drama on Tuesday.

Yes, for a while Tuesday morning, the defendant himself did not want to leave his jail cell to show up in court for the closing arguments in a case in which federal prosecutors have accused him of everything from conspiracy to murder to drug trafficking.

The New York Times reported that “in the middle of closing arguments, it evinced a new, unexpected — and rather odd — level of legal fatigue when the defendant himself, perhaps annoyed by the drawn-out process, or maybe just bored by the ordeal — refused to leave his cell and come to court.”

Mr. Gotti “did not wish to continue with the trial,” a United States marshal told the judge, according to the Times.

The paper reported that Gotti’s attorney Charles Carnesi was surprised by his client’s antics, saying: “No one knows anything from Mr. Gotti directly.”

A couple hours later, Gotti, without any real explanation, showed up in a “short-sleeved shirt and an irritated scowl”, the paper reported.

This is Gotti’s fourth trial. The other three resulted in mistrials. The big question is: Will the prosecution give up if it fails to get a conviction this time?

To read more click here.

FBI Accuses Baltimore DEA Task Force Member of Embezzlement and Lying: Harms Drug Cases

Crooked  DEA task force member, Mark James Lunsford, a Baltimore police detective, is causing some big problems.  City paper reporter Van Smith lays it all out in this report.

Detective's Skyville, Md. home the FBI raided/ baltimore city paper photo
Balt. Detective’s Sykesville, Md. home the FBI raided/ baltimore city paper photo

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE —  On Aug. 3, Ira Jimmy Martin was arrested for armed drug dealing in Baltimore City. “Lots of cash [was] recovered in this case,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Margaret Burns says.

But on Sept. 24, court records show, prosecutors dropped all six charges against 33-year-old Martin. The reason, according to Burns: The case rested on the honesty of veteran Baltimore Police Det. Mark James Lunsford.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task-force officer, Lunsford was revealed in federal court as being accused by the FBI of embezzlement and lying (“Baltimore Cop Charged by Feds with Lying and Embezzlement,” the News Hole, Sept. 24 ) on the same day Martin was let off the hook.

Burns explains in an Oct. 7 e-mail that it “turns out that the drugs [in Martin’s case] were handled at all points by Lunsford only, and so we lost this one. There is no way we could get the drugs in [as evidence in court] due to the taint of the officer.”

For Full Story

Bernie Kerik a Free Man Again

Bernie Kerik/facebook photo

Bernie Kerik/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Controversial ex-New York police Commissioner Bernard Kerik is a free man again — at least for now.

A federal judge in White Plains, N.Y., who tossed him in jail Oct. 20 for violating his pre-trial conditions,  released him Tuesday so he could go home to his New Jersey mansion pending his Feb. 18 sentencing.

Kerik pleaded guilty last week to eight felony counts that included tax crimes and lying to the White House during his failed confirmation as head of the Department of Homeland Security.

His plea agreement calls for a sentence of 27 to 33 months, though the judge does not have to abide by that.

“This is not home confinement with morning strolls and afternoon strolls,” U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson warned Kerik, according to the N.Y. Daily News. Kerik will have to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.

The judge also raised his bail from $500,000 to $1.4 million, the paper reported. To read more click here.

Fort Hood Shooting Raises Questions About Possible Agency Missteps

Could things have been done differently? Let’s hope. Though agencies seem to get defensive at times like this when the finger-pointing starts, it’s necessary to exam and air concerns,  or nothing will improve.
us-army-logo
By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — As the nation mourned the 13 people shot dead last week at Fort Hood, Tex., finger-pointing in Washington intensified Tuesday about whether officials at several agencies had failed to coordinate as they tracked the suspect’s activities or to react to possible warning signs in the months before the attack.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended a somber memorial service at the sprawling Army post, where he spoke about each of those killed.

“Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched,” the president said, adding, “Neither this country, nor the values that we were founded upon, could exist without men and women like these 13 Americans.”

For Full Story

Ex-FBI Agent and Former TV Anchor Thomas Wassell Dead at Age 84

atlanta-map1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas Wassell, a former FBI agent who went on to become well-known Atlanta TV news anchor, has died at age 84 in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Wassell worked as an agent from 1951 to 1960 in Chicago and Miami and later went on to become an anchorman at WSB-tv in Atlanta. He left the station in 1973 and became an information officer for the Georgia State Senate and retired in 1991, the paper reported.

The paper said he used to talk to his sons about his days in the FBI and his espionage cases.

“It sounded like something out of a James Bond movie or something,” his son John Wassell of Tucker told the paper.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

D.C. Sniper John Muhammad Executed in Va.