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Archive for March 10th, 2011

Justice Dept. Has to Read Prosecutor’s Hot Sex Scenes

photo/stephen spiegelhalter

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Officials in the buttoned-down world of the U.S. Department of Justice, accustomed to dull legal briefs and just-the-facts indictments, are getting a dose of steamy sex scenes on their reading list.

That’s because assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Leotta, a D.C. sex crimes prosecutor, recently landed a three-book deal with Simon & Schuster. Her first suspense novel “Law of Attraction,” released in October, included some hot sex scenes. Her second novel, already in the works, promises more of the same.

And her bosses have to read each manuscript before publication to check for any security breach issues.

“It was embarrassing to me,” Leotta, 37, said of the screening of the first book by Justice officials. “There were some steamy sex scenes, not the sort of thing I’d discuss with my boss and ethics officials at the Justice Department. It made rides in the elevator a little uncomfortable for a while.”

In the end, the Justice Department didn’t make her change a thing about the sex scenes. But she did have to make a few minor adjustments in other areas. One involved deleting some details about security at D.C. Superior Court.

Interestingly, the sex scenes and her bosses weren’t the only things that made her squirm before the release of the first book … there was that thing with her dad.

In the first book, the character Anna Curtis, who is expected to appear in the next two novels, is a sex crimes prosecutor — just like Leotta. And in the book, Curtis has an abusive dad — not at all like Leotta’s.

Still, her father, Alan Harnisch, an attorney and ex-Detroit federal prosecutor, initially wasn’t amused. After first reading the manuscript two years ago, he told AOL News, “To be honest, I wasn’t too crazy (about the book). I actually teared up. I always thought I was a good dad, I always worked hard at it.”

He waited a few days before calling his daughter, who said, “Dad, everyone who knows you will know it’s not you. It’s something I had to do to add a little something to the plot.”

Harnisch eventually came around — with the help of some plain talk from his wife, who told him, “Oh, you’re nuts, it’s just fiction.” “That snapped me out of that,” he said. Leotta, a suburban Detroit native, added, “In real life, my dad is really wonderful.”

As for the public’s reaction to the book, so far it has been strongly positive.

Suspense Magazine called her “an author to keep your eye on.” In mid-December, the novel ranked second on Amazon’s Kindle list of legal thrillers.

Critic for Minneapolis’ Star Tribune Carole E. Barrowman wrote, “The balance between romance and suspense can be difficult to sustain in a mystery. In this debut novel, Leotta smoothly blends both into an engaging legal thriller that’s far better than anything I’ve read from Grisham or the like.”

Leotta, the mother of two sons, ages 3 and 1, and wife of federal prosecutor Michael Leotta, whom she met in law school, has the writing bug. She’s on leave from her job to work on her next book. But she still loves being a prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a position she landed in 2003 after working three years at the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Litigation.

“The amazing thing about my job is you never know what’s around the corner,” she said. “Every case is fascinating, heartbreaking and tragic. And incredibly touching and emotionally wrenching. In some ways, (the job) just felt like a novel.”

Leotta joked that now that the word’s out about the sexual content, perhaps more people at the Justice Department will volunteer to screen the next book.

All joking aside, she’s not sure how she’ll feel when the bosses go over the next manuscript and come across the tantalizing passages. This time “might even be worse,” she said.

“I was writing a sex scene a couple days ago and I was imagining one of my bosses reading it and I was cringing a little. But I pressed on,” she said.

Does her husband mind her writing those scenes? “He likes it,” Leotta said with a chuckle. “He doesn’t want to brag or anything, but he likes to think he sees a little bit of himself in there.”

Plus, she said, “He likes to help with the research.”

2 NY Lawmakers Among 8 Indicted in Bribery Schemes

Sen. Carl Kruger/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some of our politicians simply refuse to let us down when it comes to the negative stereotype.

The FBI on Thursday announced indictments against N.Y. State Senator Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William F. Boyland Jr. on charges of accepting bribes in exchange for official acts as lawmakers.

The two lawmakers were among eight people indicted in bribery schemes that collectively exceeded $1 million, the FBI said.

The FBI said in a press release that Kruger allegedly accepted more than $1 million in bribes from a lobbyist, a real estate developer and and health care consultant, all of whom were also charged.

Authorities charged that from at least 2006 through March 2011, KRUGER “received a stream of bribes totaling at least $1 million in exchange for taking official actions on behalf of the bribe payers as opportunities arose.”

And rather than receive the payments directly, he allegedly funneled them to the accounts of two shell companies established by MICHAEL TURANO—Olympian Strategic Development Corp. (“Olympian”) and Bassett Brokerage (“Bassett”).

Authorities also charged that Assemblyman Boyland accepted $177,000 in bribes from a hospital executive.

Read NY Times Story

Boston Mobster Enrico Ponzo Became “Remade” Man as Rancher in Idaho


By WILLIAM YARDLEY
New York Times

MARSING, Idaho — Enrico Ponzo was never a proper mobster, a “made man” in the vernacular of the underworld. He was a renegade, prosecutors say, part of a violent faction intent on ousting the bosses of the powerful Patriarca crime family in Boston in the early 1990s.

When a wide-ranging indictment came down against him and 14 others in 1997, Mr. Ponzo was charged with crimes that included attempted murder and extortion. But he was also listed as the target of a contract killing planned by one of the other defendants.

While most everyone else in the case went to prison, Mr. Ponzo was not arrested — he had been missing since 1994.

Jeffrey John “Jay” Shaw was never a natural rancher. The accent from back East and his inexperience with cattle gave him away quickly as another newcomer reinventing himself in the West. “He wore bib overalls and straw hats,” said Brodie Clapier, a neighbor and a longtime rancher. “People did wear bib overalls here — in the 1930s.”

To read more click here.

President Nominates U.S. Atty. For Virgin Islands and U.S. Marshals for NJ and Va.

Ronald Sharpe/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama continued to chip away at filling some law enforcement seats Wednesday by nominating a U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Islands and U.S. Marshals for Virginia and New Jersey.

The president nominated Ronald W. Sharpe for U.S. Attorney for the Virgin Island. Sharpe has served as the interim U.S. Attorney there since 2009 and immediately before that he served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney.

For U.S. Marshal, Robert “Bobby” Mathieson was nominated for the Eastern District of Virginia and Juan Mattos Jr. was picked as the nominee for New Jersey.

Robert “Bobby” Mathieson, who is director of business development for Rileen Innovative Technologies, retired as a master police officer in 2002 from the Virginia Beach Police Department. He was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2008.

Juan Mattos Jr. retired in 2010 as a Lt. Colonel in the New Jersey State Police. He currently serves as an Agent with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in Edison, N.J.

FBI Looking into Allegations Involving Newly Elected D.C. Mayor

FBI Arrests Man in MLK Day Bomb Incident in Spokane

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday announced the arrest of an ex-soldier with ties to White Supremacists in connection with a bomb that was placed along the parade route at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in Spokane, Wa., on Jan. 17.

Kevin William Harpham, age 36, of Colville, Wa. was arrested and charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered explosive device. The Spokesman Review reported that Harpham served from 1996 to 1999 as a fire support specialist with the Army’s 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.

The Spokesman Review reported that the Southern Poverty Law Center confirmed that Harpham in 2004 was a member of the White Supremacist group, the National Alliance.

“What to me this arrest suggests is that the Martin Luther King Day attack is what it always looked like: A terror-mass murder attempt directed at black people and their sympathizers,” Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project told the paper.

But Erich Gliebe, chairman of the National Alliance, based in Hillsboro, W.Va., told the paper that Harpham is not a member of the group.

“We have a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal activity and anyone committing those acts – even hinting or joking — would not be welcome in our organization,” Gliebe said.

Va. Man Initially Suspected of Terrorism Sentenced to Time Served — 3 Months

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Authorities’ initial case against a Virginia man accused of writing on Facebook about blowing up the D.C. subway, fizzled somewhat.

Awais Yoiunis was sentenced Wednesday in Alexandria, Va. to time served — three months — after federal authorities scaled back the terrorism allegations,  the Washington Post’s Dana Hedgpeth reported. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III  also ordered Yoiunis to serve two years of supervised release.

Younis, 25, of Arlington County, ended up pleading guilty to making threats via Interstate communication against another person on the Internet, the Post reported. He had written on Facebook about putting pipe bombs in subway cars and wrote threatening remarks to someone.

Federal authorities had searched his home, but found no materials that could have been used in such a plot, the Post reported.

Authorities had alleged in court documents that an informant contacted the New Orleans FBI on Nov. 28 and said during a chat on Facebook that Younis discussed building pipe bombs and detonating them on the subway cars.

Once the FBI began looking into the matter, the defendant made threats against the informant and her father during a Facebook chat.

The Post reported that Younis’s attorney, Frank Salvato said his client had “no intention of ever harming anyone.”

“The court and the government acknowledged that this was an isolated heated exchange with no actual or intended harm to anyone,” Salvato said.

“The time-served sentence and a short period of supervision are more than enough in this case, and my client is looking forward to resuming his normal life,” Salvato said.

id federal agents became aware of Younis in November after a Facebook user in Louisiana tipped them off to discussions with Younis, who was using the name Sundullah “Sunny” Ghilzai online. The person who had exchanged messages online with Younis on Facebook again went to the FBI in December and described how agitated and angry Younis seemed in an online chat.

“You are sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong into something bigger than you and I,” Younis wrote. “that is the problem with Americans they cant leave well enough alone until something happends then they sit there wondering why we dropped the twin towers like a bad habit hahaha.”