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Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Motorist Beaten By DEA Agent in Road Rage Incident is Awarded $833,250

kansasBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The judge called it a case of “road rage” — a hot-tempered DEA agent who lost control after a minor collision in 2003 and beat the other driver, leaving him with life-changing head injuries and emotional scars.

On Sept. 17, U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson, who presided over the civil trial against the federal government, awarded the beaten driver, Barron R. Bowling, $833,250. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas said they were reviewing the judge’s written ruling involving the agent, Timothy McCue, who still works for the agency.

The award, to most, sounds like a big chunk of money. But on Wednesday, Bowling’s father said he was unhappy with the cash figure and complained that the agent hadn’t been fired.

“Knowing the mental and physical damage that’s been done to my son, he deserved a lot more than that,” Bob Bowling, a retired equipment technician for the city of San Diego, told AOL News. “He’s been rather reclusive. It changed his personality, he’s not outgoing like he used to be. I’d say he’s slightly paranoid, untrusting.

“His grandfather was an assistant police chief in Alabama,” the elder Bowling said. “He would roll over in his grave if he knew [the agent] hadn’t been fired, lost his retirement and gone to prison. That’s exactly what I think should happen.”

The incident happened on July 10, 2003. According to the judge’s written findings, Barron Bowling, now 36, a union cement worker, was driving down 10th Street in Kansas City, Kan., in his Lincoln Continental, headed to a drugstore to fill a prescription for pain medication following a dental procedure. The street was one lane but big enough to accommodate two cars.

As he drove, he noticed a Chevy Monte Carlo on his right, which was attempting to pass him illegally. Bowling accelerated to prevent the car from passing. The Monte Carlo, which was a government vehicle carrying three DEA agents, accelerated to get around Bowling, the judge noted.

“Just as [Bowling] was incensed at McCue’s attempt to pass him on the right, McCue was incensed at [Bowling’s] attempt to prevent him from passing on the right,” the judge noted.

The cars sideswiped one another. McCue claimed that Bowling smiled at him and then rammed his car, almost forcing him to crash, and that he resisted arrest. The judge found that much of McCue’s testimony lacked credibility and that the collision appeared to be an accident.

Whatever the case, Bowling pulled over. McCue and another agent rushed toward him, yelling at him to get out of the car. McCue had his gun drawn, and the men “announced at least once they were law enforcement,” though a witness nearby said he never heard them announce they were police.

The two agents then pulled Bowling out of the car and laid him facedown on the blistering hot pavement. It was nearly 100 degrees that day.

As the agents tried to handcuff him, Bowling tried to lift his face and torso off the hot pavement, which they perceived as resisting arrest, the judge wrote. McCue began hitting Bowling with a closed fist in the face. The judge also noted that he may have struck Bowling with his gun.

McCue then cuffed both arms, and federal agents lifted him up and placed him in a seated position behind Bowling’s car. McCue then kicked Bowling multiple times with “the type of force that could also cause the closed head injury that” Bowling sustained, the judge wrote.

Meanwhile, throughout the ordeal, McCue “unleashed his anger verbally,” calling Bowling such things as “white trash” and “system-dodging inbred hillbilly,” the judge wrote. Witnesses at the scene said that McCue threatened to kill Bowling and that on three separate occasions, law enforcement agents “walked” McCue away to calm him down.

A police officer at the scene assured Bowling he would not be charged because of the accident. But the agents arrested him and turned him over to police on charges of causing the accident. He was convicted of having drug paraphernalia — a marijuana pipe. He was acquitted of the charges stemming from the accident.

As an side note, Kansas City Police Detective Max Seifert, who investigated the matter, was told by an officer to cover up for the DEA agents “because you know what happened down there,” the judge wrote.

But Seifert conducted a thorough investigation and consequently “lost his career over this case” because he essentially didn’t try to cover up anything, the judge noted. “Seifert was shunned, subjected to gossip and defamation by his police colleagues, and treated as a pariah,” the judge wrote.

Bowling is not able to work at this time due to the injuries.

“The attack has left plaintiff, the family breadwinner and father of four with substantial physical and emotional impairments,” the judge wrote. “Since the arrest, he has suffered from a myriad of physical and mental symptoms and problems, including disabling migraine headaches almost daily, dizziness, hearing loss, constant tinnitus (ringing in his ears), problems with balance and stumbling, nausea (especially when working in the heat), flashbacks, insomnia … and one incident of attempted suicide.”

Despite that laundry list of ailments, his father says Bowling is pleased that “basically the truth has been told.”

Court Orders SEC to Reinstate Insider Trading Allegations Against Mark Cuban Who Ironically Bank Rolls Investigative Website on Securities Fraud

Mark Cuban recent appearance on HBO's "Entourage"

Mark Cuban recent appearance on HBO's "Entourage"

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Perhaps one of the more ironic things about Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being accused of insider trading is that he bank rolls a website called Sharesleuth.com, which bills itself as “an independent Web-based reporting aimed at exposing securities fraud and corporate chicanery.”

On Tuesday, Cuban was back in what must be an uncomfortable situation for the website: The federal appeals court reinstated the Security and  Exchange Commission’s insider-trading civil case against him, according to the New York Times.

In November 2008, the S.E.C. filed civil charges against Cuban, accusing him of “trading on confidential information when he sold his stake in a small Internet search company just before it announced news that caused its stock price to drop,” the Times reported. The matter was dropped more than a year ago.

Cuban’s lawyer Christopher J. Clark issued a statement about the reinstatement of the allegations,  saying:“We are supremely confident that we will prevail in the district court, either on summary judgment or at trial. The record will show that the S.E.C. alleged facts that it knew it could never prove and brought this case as a result of a pre-existing bias against Mr. Cuban.”

Cuban recently appeared in some episodes of the HBO hit “Entourage”.

Ex-New Orleans Detective Gets 3 Years For Helping Cover Up Police Shootings in 2005

new orleans police badgeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-New Orleans police detective is headed off to prison.

Jeffrey Lehrmann was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for his role in covering up two police-involved shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured, the Justice Department announced.

He’s the first to be sentenced in the wide sweeping probe into the infamous bridge shootings.

Court documents show that Lehrmann learned from a supervisor that an officer on the bridge “shot an innocent man.”

He admitted that he and his supervisors created a report that included false statements by the officers involved in the shootings; false claims about a gun that had been planted by the investigator; and fabricated statements that came from non-existent witnesses, authorities said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Dir. Mueller Expresses Concern About al Qaeda’s Broadening Influence

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Senate Committee Wednesday that he’s concerned about terrorist plots against the U.S. coming primarily from three sources: core al Qaeda, al Qaeda’s affiliates, and homegrown extremists.

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, al Qaeda’s plots and plans primarily focused on using individuals from the Middle East or South Asia for such attacks,” Mueller told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

“More recent plots—beginning in August 2006 with the attempted plan to commit attacks against U.S.-bound aircraft using improvised explosives devices—suggest al Qaeda is also putting more emphasis on finding recruits or trainees from the West to play key roles for these homeland-specific operations.”

He went on to testify:

“The 2009 plot led by Najibullah Zazi to attack the New York subway was the first known instance since 9/11 that al Qaeda had successfully deployed a trained operative into the United States.”

“The fact that Zazi and his associates had access to the United States and were familiar with the environment here from an operational security and targeting perspective demonstrates how al Qaeda can leverage Americans.”

Read more »

Boston Globe Editorial Says FBI Guilty of “Red-Baiting at its Worst”

fbi logo largeBy The Boston Globe
Editorial

GREENPEACE, THE Catholic Worker, the Thomas Merton Center — none of these groups had the remotest connection to 9/11 or terrorism. And the FBI had no business investigating them — with no evidence other than a suspicion of left-wing organizations in wartime.

This was shameful red-baiting at its worst. The best thing to say about it is that a Justice Department report cleared the FBI of investigating targeted groups to deliberately stifle their “First Amendment activities.’’ But the net effect was the same.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General report released this week pulled few punches in admonishing the FBI for targeting anti-war groups and advocacy organizations with no apparent justification, and for placing non-violent activists in those groups on terrorist watch lists. The report chastised the bureau for having a “weak’’ rationale for some of its investigations; investigating where there was “little indication of any possible federal crimes’’; and extending “the duration of investigations involving advocacy groups or their members without adequate basis.’’

To read more click here.

Ex-Disney Assistant Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading Scheme

walt disney
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An assistant to a top executive at the Walt Disney Company pleaded guilty Tuesday in Manhattan U.S. District Court to partaking in an insider trading scheme.

Bonnie J. Hoxie, 34, of Los Angeles, admitted that she along with her boyfriend Yonni Sebbag of Morocco obtained confidential inside information, including Disney’s quarterly earnings, and tried selling it to outside investors for stock trading purposes.  Sebbag had already pleaded guilty.

Authorities said from March 2010 through May 25 of this year Hoxie worked as a secretary to Disney’s Head of Corporate Communications and obtained material, nonpublic information and gave it to Sebbag.

Authorities said the scheme involved sending out letters anonymously to hedge funds and other investment companies, offering to sell the info for insider trading.

Undercover FBI agents posed as hedge fund traders known as “tippees” and offered to buy the information. The couple was arrested after Sebbag accepted $15,000 from undercover FBI agents for the information, authorities said.

“Today, Bonnie Hoxie admitted to playing with a stacked deck by selling valuable Disney secrets to make a quick buck,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “This Office will continue to work with the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to prosecute individuals who commit insider trading and jeopardize the integrity of our financial markets.”

Border Wars With National Geographic Crews