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Archive for June 4th, 2010

Weekend Series on History of Crime: The Hells Angels

Border Patrol Agent Pleads to Beating Mexican National at Arizona Border

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Tucson to assaulting a Mexican National in his custody, the Justice Department said.

Agent Eduardo Moreno admitted that on May 10, 2006, while on duty at the U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center in Nogales, Ariz., he kicked the man, struck him in the stomach with a baton, threw him down to ground and punched him without justification, authorities said.

“We place a great deal of trust in federal law enforcement officers, and the Civil Rights Division will aggressively prosecute any officer who violates the rights of others and abuses the power they are given to perform their critical duties,”  Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 12. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Under the plea agreement, authorities agreed to drop the charge that he made a false statement to federal agents.

Did Mexican Cartel Plan to Blow Up Dam Along Texas Border?

Falcon Dam/u.s. govt. photo

Falcon Dam/u.s. govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It could have been a major disaster.

The Houston Chronicle reports that authorities were scrambling last month to deal with a suspected plot by a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the 5-mile-long Falcon dam along the Texas border that would have endangered millions of peopole.

The paper reports that the plan may have been “derailed by a stepped-up presence by the Mexican military, which was acting in part on intelligence from the U.S. government, sources said.”

To read more click here.

A Loss in Blago Case Would Be a “Black Eye” to U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As the high-profile trial of the very chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets underway in Chicago, some can’t help but think what this case means to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, a star prosecutor who has publicly vilified the former politician.

The Chicago News Cooperative writes in the New York Times that ultimately a loss “would be a black eye for Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney who brought the case against him.”

“For more than three decades, the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago has made its reputation successfully prosecuting public servants,” the paper wrote. “It has sent to prison Cook County judges, scores of Chicago aldermen and other City Hall officials, as well as former Gov. George Ryan. But in terms of pure news media spectacle and national profile, the Blagojevich trial may be the biggest test yet for an office with a storied legacy.”

“The hobby of the office has been public corruption,” Scott Lassar, the United States attorney whom Mr. Fitzgerald succeeded in 2001, told the paper.

To read the full story click here.

Jose Conseco Says Fed Grand Jury into Roger Clemens Waste of Taxpayers’ Money

Jose Conseco/abc news

Jose Conseco/abc news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – Jose Conseco, — who is described in the New York Daily News as a “now broke former ballplayer” — emerged from a grand jury in Washington on Thursday and had a few words about the investigation into whether former pitcher Roger Clemens perjured himself before Congress about taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

“It’s ridiculous,” Canseco said, after testifying two hours, the Daily News reported. “There’s got to be better ways to spend taxpayer money.”

The paper said he sharply criticized Clemen’s chief accuser Brian McNamee.

“He’s an absolute liar and I challenge him to a polygraph,” said Canseco, according to the Daily News. He said Conseco also never asked him for steroids.

Canseco also said  Clemens never asked him for steroids or told him he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Working to Rebuild Civil Rights Division After Bush Years

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

Assist. Atty. Gen. Thomas Perez/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Under the Bush years, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division took a beating. The administration was accused of politicizing its hiring. And nearly 70 percent of the lawyers left in mass between 2003 and 2007, the Washington Post reported.

Now Thomas E. Perez, who heads the division, is working to rebuild and rehire, the Post reports.

“We had to do some healing,” Perez tells the Post. “We had to restore the partnership between the career staff and the political leadership. And frankly, certain civil rights laws were not being enforced.”

The Post reports that the division has stepped up enforcement of employment, disability rights and other anti-discrimination laws and “hate crimes and police misconduct are a renewed focus, and several section chiefs from the George W. Bush era have left.”

“I think we have positioned the division to carry out its traditional mission of enforcement and be nimble enough to respond to emerging challenges,” Perez told the Post.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich and Wife Speak Out as Jury Selection Begins in Chicago

 

Secret Service Subdue 2 Men Who Got in Way of Presidential Motorcade

white house photo

white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In this town, there’s a few simple rules. One of them is very very simple: Don’t get in the way of Presidential motorcade. The Secret Service takes that pretty seriously.

On Thursday night, U.S. Secret Service police subdued two men who failed to get out of the way of the Presidential motorcade after President Obama was returning home to the White House from a visit to a school event for one of his daughters, the Associated Press reported.

AP, attributing information to Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, said the men were charged with assaulting a police officer and failure to obey a lawful order. Their identities were not immediately released. He said the incident appeared to be random.