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Archive for May 17th, 2010

NY Car Bomb Suspect Could Be Talking His Way to Less Prison Time

Faisal Shahzad/cnn

Faisal Shahzad/cnn

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Talk may be cheap, but for New York car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad, yapping to the feds, and doing so without a lawyer, could potentially pay off in the form of a lighter sentence, legal experts say.

Just how much lighter is anyone’s guess, though clearly he’s not likely to be a free man any time soon. Or for that matter, when the Yankees celebrate their 10th anniversary in the new stadium in the Bronx in 2019, or perhaps even their 20th anniversary.

Justice Department officials say Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, has been talking to investigators and offering valuable information ever since he was pulled off a plane at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on May 3, two days after he allegedly placed a failed car bomb inside a 1993 Nissan Pathfinder in Times Square.

{Update: A U.S. Magistrate Judge in Manhattan on Tuesday assigned Shahzad a court-appointed attorney from the federal defender office at his arraignment. Shahzad had been talking to investigators for the past two weeks without an attorney}

To read more click here.

Emails May Provide Insights Into Shahzad (AOL News)

EX-FBI Agent Who Was Always in the Thick of It Pens First Novel

Herman Groman

Herman Groman

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — While I was a reporter at the Detroit News covering the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit, FBI agent Herman Groman left his mark.

When the FBI ran a massive sting that netted a number of crooked local judges, Herman Groman was in thick of all of that.

A few years later, when the FBI conducted an undercover sting and got a bunch of crooked cops to provide protection for fake cocaine shipments, Groman was in the middle of all of that as well. Not only were cops convicted, but so was the common-law brother-in-law of then Mayor Coleman A. Young, who helped recruit some of the cops.

groman bookGroman eventually went off to the Las Vegas FBI office, where he went undercover, posing as a mobster.  In other words, if there was danger and excitement, Groman was often involved.

Now Groman, who has since retired from the FBI and is the director of security for a Las Vegas hotel/casino,  has taken all that knowledge and excitement and penned his first novel, a suspense thriller called “Pigeon Spring” that stars a fictitious lead character Matt Steel,  who happens to be an ex-FBI agent who is director of security at a Las Vegas hotel.

I should mention, for full disclosure, that I wrote one of the reviews on the book jacket before the book came out. So did entertainer Wayne Newton, ex-FBI agent Joe Pistone (aka Donny Brasco)  and NBC’s Chris Hansen.

Newton,  Mr. Las Vegas, wrote:  “Danke Schoen to Groman. His novel “Pigeon Spring” really captures the crazy hustle of Las Vegas and the wild pristine beauty of Nevada’s other side…the Sierra Nevada. He knows his way around a horse too. I enjoyed it cover to cover.”

The book goes on sale on  Tuesday.



White Supremacist Pleads to Mailing Hangman’s Noose to African American Civil Rights Leader in Lima, Ohio

David Lee Jones/multnomah co. sheriff photo

David Lee Jones/multnomah co. sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A white supremacist pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Toledo to  mailing a hangman’s noose to the president of the Lima, Ohio chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Justice Department announced.

Authorities said that white supremacist Daniel Lee Jones, 33, of Portland, Ore., admitted mailing the noose to  NAACP local chapter president F.M. Jason Upthegrove in February of 2008 to  “convey a threat or injure” Upthegrove, who was an African-American, who pushed for improvement  police services for blacks in Lima, Ohio.

The indictment stated, according to authorities,  that Upthegrove publicly spoke out in the media against Jones’ hate group that mailed flyers about an African-American woman who was shot by the Lima Police Department.

Jones, who was reportedly the regional director of the American National Socialist Workers Party, a neo-Nazi group based in Roanoke, Va., faces up to five years in prison.

“Sending a noose is a threat that harkens back to some of the darkest days of our history. We simply will not tolerate such actions any longer,” Cleveland U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach said in a statement.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

It’s Off to Fed Prison For NY’s Ex-Top Cop Bernie Kerik

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Clad in blue jeans and a tan jacket, ex-N.Y. Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik left his New Jersey home Monday to report to a federal minimum-security prison in Cumberland, Md., ABC News reported.

Kerik,  54, who became a hero after the 9/11 attacks, began serving his four-year term on eight felony counts that included lying to the White House and filing false taxes.

ABC reported that Kerik — not known for his shyness — did not comment to reporters as he left his home. He did, however,  say on his company website that he was a victim of a “grave injustice” and that he pleaded guilty in November because he was financially in a bad way.

The Cumberland Prison

The Cumberland Prison

As of late Monday night, the Bureau of Prisons had not listed him as being at the Maryland facility. However, he had a prison number of 84888-054 and his release date was listed as July 30, 2013.

President Nominates Deputy FBI Dir. John Pistole to Head Transportation Security Administration

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
tickletehwire.com

WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday announced plans to nominate FBI deputy director John Pistole — the number two man in the agency — to head up the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for the safety of the nation’s airport passengers.

He becomes the third Presidential  nominee for that position. The two others withdrew after questions were raised about their background.

“The talent and knowledge John has acquired in more than two decades of service with the F.B.I. will make him a valuable asset to our administration’s efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports,” President Obama said in a statement.”I am grateful that he has agreed to take on this important role, and I look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.”

Pistole, who has a fair amount of fans over at FBI headquarters, has been the second in command since 2004.

The nomination comes at time the TSA is under increasing scrutiny and pressure to provide safe travels for the millions who pass through the nation’s airports. Pistole, who is regarded as a straight shooter,  is unlikely to face many problems in the confirmation process.  He’s expected to stay in his current post until the confirmation process is complete.

Previously, his name surfaced as one of four candidates being considered to head up the Drug Enforcement Administration. But in the end the nod went to the acting head of DEA,  Michele Leonhart. After that, his name had surfaced as a possible head for ATF, but that idea never went any where.

Read more »

Justice Dept. to Examine New Orleans Police Department

Mayor Landrieu asked for Justice Dept. to intervene/city photo

Mayor Landrieu asked for Justice Dept. to intervene/city photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In response to a cry for help from the newly minted Mayor, the Justice Department announced Monday that it will conduct an evaluation of the New Orleans Police Department to figure out reforms for the troubled agency, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, attending a news conference in New Orleans with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other officials, said the assessment will start immediately, the paper reported.

The paper reported that Perez wrote a letter to Landrieu saying the Justice Department will “examine allegations of excessive force, unconstitutional searches and seizures, racial profiling, failures to provide adequate police services to particular neighborhoods and related misconduct.”

“We already have boots on the ground right now. We will spend a lot of time here in the weeks and months ahead in the city of New Orleans,” Perez said, according to the paper.

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

Shortly after taking office,Landrieu asked the Justice Department to examine the police department. News of the assessment was first reported on Friday by the website Main Justice.

The department has been plagued by problems and tarnished lately by guilty pleas of officers involved in covering up  the infamous Danziger Bridge police shootings after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that left  two people dead and four injured.

The community distrust of the department has a been a running problem.

Ex-FBI Agent Wants Director Mueller to Stand Up for Miranda Warning

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

Joe Navarro/ photo from his website

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A retired FBI agent well versed in interrogating spies and terrorists, says he wants FBI Director Robert Mueller III to speak up and defend the reading of Miranda Warnings to suspects, the website Spy Talk reported.

Retired agent Joe Navarro said the Miranda Warning — giving suspects the right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney — doesn’t inhibit questioning, according to the Spy Talk.

“In 25 years working as an FBI agent, I found that the Miranda decision did not interfere with me in either obtaining usable information or making prosecutable cases,” Navarro wrote in an opinion piece in the weekend Tampa Tribune, according to Spy Talk.

“Miranda doesn’t interfere with making cases,” he added. “Incompetent investigators do.”

“It is unfortunate that the current head of the FBI has refused to step forward and say, ‘This is the law, and FBI agents will abide by it, end of story. We can do our job with Miranda,’ ” Navarro wrote.

“Sadly, few people in government have risen up to set the record straight and demand respect for the law.”

Va. U.S. Atty. Wants to Run With the Big Dogs in Securities Fraud Crack Down

german shephard
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Is the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Va., trying to run with the big dogs in New York in the area of securities fraud?

A Wall Street Journal report gives a resounding Yes to that question.

The paper’s Law Blog reports that U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of Virginia “is assembling a new, investigative task force of federal, state and local entities to crack down on financial crime and securities fraud. He has hired several new prosecutors to focus on white-collar crime—and is targeting high-profile cases.”

“We’re stepping up our game, working in close partnership with the Securities and Exchange Commission and others to really make a push to focus on significant, national-impact securities-fraud cases,” Mr. MacBride told the Journal.

The Journal says the Virginia office can claim jurisdiction over such cases because the Securities and Exchange Commission data base is located in Alexandria, “meaning every publicly traded company technically files their accounts in his district.”