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Archive for August 17th, 2010

Breaking News: Blago Convicted on 1 of 24 Counts; Jury Deadlocks on 4 Counts Against Brother

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A federal jury in Chicago on Tuesday convicted ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on just one count but deadlocked on 23 others, including the allegation that he tried to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

The former governor could face up to five years in prison on the one conviction, lying to federal agents. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said his office planned to retry the case soon.

“For all practical purposes, we are in the mode of being close to jury selection for a retrial,” Fitzgerald said.

Outside the courthouse, Blagojevich insisted, “I didn’t break any laws.”

“Let me also say this to the people of Illinois — that from the very beginning this all happened, I told them I did not let them down,” he said.

Blagojevich, 53, said he would appeal the single conviction on what he called a “nebulous” charge.

“I didn’t break any laws,”he said. “I did not lie to the FBI.”

To read more click here.

Deputy Atty. General Blasts FBI and ATF For Not Getting Along in 8-Page Memo

Dep. A.G. Gary Grindler/doj photo

Dep. A.G. Gary Grindler/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The ongoing turf battle between the FBI and ATF is getting renewed attention.

ABC News reports that Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler has fired off a letter saying the ongoing Hatfield-McCoy relationship can cause confusion as to who is in charge at scenes and when trying to defuse live bombs.

“We cannot afford to let any uncertainty about roles and responsibilities interfere with a timely and effective response to explosives incidents,” Grindler said in 8-page memo, which directs the agencies to get along, according to ABC News. “Prior efforts to remedy this situation through protocols and Attorney General memoranda have failed to achieve sustainable, clearly defined lines between ATF’s and FBI’s jurisdiction.”

“Despite the impressive records of both agencies in this mission space, the current situation … must be remedied.”

The problem is certainly nothing new. Instances have popped up from time to time including in March 2003 when North Carolina farmer Dwight Watson brought his tractor to the pond at the National Mall and falsely claimed to have a bomb, bringing  part of the District to a standstill for two days.  In that instance, FBI and ATF agents argued over jurisdiction.

To read more click here

To read memo click here.

Member of Juarez Drug Cartel in Mexico Extradited to U.S.

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A suspected member of the violent Juarez Drug Cartel in Mexico has been extradited to the states, the DEA in El Paso said.

Felipe DOMINGUEZ-Vargas was extradited on Aug. 10 and made his initial appearance on drug charges in U.S. District Court in El Paso on Monday, according to Joseph M. Arabit, of the El Paso DEA. He waived his right to a detention hearing.

DOMINGUEZ faces six counts of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and marijuana, the DEA said. He was first arrested by Mexican authorities in November 2009.

U.S. Park Police Probe Whether Its Officers Improperly Provided Escort for the Infamous Salahis

N.H. U.S. Atty. Declines to Pursue Criminal Charges in Craigslist Killing

markoffBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Hampshire found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing involving the store which sold a gun to the suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff, the Boston Globe reported.

Federal prosecutors had explored the possibility of filing criminal charges against the State Line Gun Shop in Mason, N.H., which sold the gun to  Markoff, a medical student, who used fake identification of someone who supposedly looked like him, the Globe reported.

Markoff, who committed suicide Sunday while in prison awaiting trial for the killing of Julissa Brisman, a masseuse, who he met through Craigslist.

“This office is not looking into this issue,” Donald Feith, an assistant US attorney in New Hampshire told the Globe.

Brisman’s family has been calling for federal authorities to investigate the gun dealer for allegedly not confirming Markoff’s identification.

Transportation Security Administration Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Stealing Items From Luggage

airport-people-walkingBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s bad enough airline customers have to pay to check in luggage. But to have to pay and then have things stolen from the luggage.

Well, former Transportation Security Administration supervisor Randy Pepper pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to stealing $20,000 in jewelry and other items from checked luggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Pepper was fired in July 2009 after a TSA worker saw him remove items from luggage. Pepper pawned the items, AP reported.

Pepper is set to be sentenced in November. The AP reported the guideline range is six months to one year in prison.

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