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Archive for November 13th, 2009

Rep. Jefferson Gets a Record 13-Year Sentence on Fri. the 13th for Public Corruption

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing/Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

Jefferson stands next to attorney Robert Trout during sentencing/Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
For Sphere (A New AOL News Website)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Former Rep. William Jefferson, the first African-American to win a Congressional seat in Louisiana since Reconstruction, took on the added distinction Friday of receiving the harshest sentence ever given to a member of Congress for a public corruption conviction.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Elllis III, hoping to send a message to deter others in Congress, handed down a sentence of 13 years in prison, far surpassing the previous record sentence of 8 years and 4 months given to former Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California, who pleaded guilty in 2005 to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Next week, the Judge will announce when the prison term begins.

“You’re obviously a person of gifts and those gifts have been squandered,” Judge Ellis told Jefferson, who stood silently in the courtroom next to his attorney Robert Trout.

“Public corruption is a cancer that must be removed,” he said, adding at one point, “There must be some sort of greed virus that attacks people in power.”

For Full Story

Read New Orleans Times-Picayune Story

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Head of FBI D.C. Office Joseph Persichini Jr. Retiring

FBI's Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo
FBI’s Joseph Persichin Jr./ticklethewire.com photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Joseph Persichini Jr., who has headed the FBI Washington field office for the past three years, is retiring at the end of the year.

Persichini, 55, was special agent in charge of the administrative division at the Washington field office before he rose in 2006 to the top post in the office and was named assistant director in charge, replacing Mike Mason who eventually went on to take a job with Verizon.

He began his FBI career in 1976 as an accountant at FBI headquarters in the Budget and Accounting Section and became a special agent in 1980, according to the FBI.

As head of the D.C. FBI field office, he oversaw some major cases including the anthrax investigation and the tax scandal in the D.C. Tax Office, which involved the theft of some $50 million.

Drug Task Forces Targeting Mexican Cartels to Shrink

Maybe there’s more to this, but from outward appearances it seems rather bothersome that the Justice Department is scaling back in an area so important. We need to crack down more, not less on the violent Mexican cartels that have spread their tentacles in the U.S.

mexico-border-sign

By Joe Palazzolo
Main Justice

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is eliminating 30 attorney positions from anti-drug trafficking task forces, scaling back a key program as the U.S. tries to combat Mexican cartels and stem the flow of weapons and illegal drugs across the border.

U.S. Attorneys’ offices will realize the loses through attrition, and all nine Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force regions will be affected, Justice officials said. The OCDETF cuts were announced in a memo sent to U.S. Attorneys offices last month.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the memo, citing personnel matters and the ongoing budget process.

For Full Story

Pot Seizures Up Fourfold at U.S.-Canada Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With all the drug-related violence and craziness along the Mexican-U.S. border, we seldom hear much about canada border the Canada-U.S. border.

The Toronto Star reports that the “hardening of the Canada-U.S. border” has resulted in a fourfold increase in marijuana seizures.

U.S. authorities seized 17,915 kilos of Canadian-grown marijuana during the year ending Sept. 30, compared to 4,325 kilos the previous year, according to figures to be released Friday by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the paper reported.

The paper said U.S. border officials attributed increased seizures to better cross-border police cooperation and new technology including unmanned aerial drones.

Khalid Sheik Mohammad to be Tried in Fed Court in NY Insteaed of Military CourtAsked

Khalid Sheik Mohammad
Khalid Sheik Mohammad

Some may not agree with this, but frankly it seems like the right thing to do. Americans generally want to have confidence that justice is being carried out fairly and it seems that a trial in the federal court will be more transparent.

By Peter Finn and Carrie A. Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Khalid Sheik Mohammed — the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — and four co-defendants will be tried in federal court in New York instead of a military commission, a federal official said early Friday.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the bombing of the USS Cole when it was docked off the coast of Yemen in 2000, will be tried at a military commission, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decisions have not yet been formally announced by the Department of Justice.

The long-awaited decisions on prosecution, part of President Obama’s quest to close the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, do not affect the vast majority of the 215 prisoners held at the prison.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Gov. Spitzer Who Was Brought Down by FBI Probe Speaks at Harvard Ethics Forum

India News Outlets Report Mueller and Agents to Visit India Next Week

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

Robert Mueller III/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — News outlets in India  are reporting that FBI director Robert Mueller III and a group of FBI agents plan to visit that country  next week to pursue a terrorism investigation.

The website Indiaserver.com reported that the agents will follow up on an investigation into suspected terrorist David Coleman Headley who was recently charged in Chicago with plotting attacks in India and on a Denmark newspaper that published  controversial cartoons mocking Islam.

“Mueller, who will be heading a team of investigators days ahead of the first anniversary of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strike, will probe Headley’s network in India and also establish his links with the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba,” the website reported.

The FBI on Thursday said that as a matter of practice it did not discuss or publicize the director’s overseas travel plans in advance.