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Archive for May 23rd, 2011

Judges Tosses Ex-Terrorist Suspect’s Suit Against Detroit FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –An FBI agent is off the hook.

U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani of Detroit on Monday tossed out a lawsuit against FBI agent Michael Thomas, the Associated Press reported. The suit was filed Karim Koubriti, whose terrorism conviction  in Detroit was thrown out after it was ruled that the prosecution withheld crucial evidence from the defense.

The judge on Monday ruled that  Koubriti had failed to prove that the agent had intentionally withheld evidence, AP reported.

Koubriti was after millions of dollars in damage in a suit originally filed against Thomas and former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino. Convertino had been removed from the lawsuit based on a ruling that prosecutors are immune from lawsuits.

The high profile case generated a lot of attention, first because the arrests came shortly after 9/11.  Later, after trial, the case  was mired in controversy after allegations surfaced that the prosecution had withheld information from the defense.

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Fed Prosecutors Faulted for Credit-Crunch Inaction

File photo/istock

By Justin Blum
Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — In November 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed before television cameras to prosecute those responsible for the market collapse a year earlier, saying the U.S. would be “relentless” in pursuing corporate criminals.

In the 18 months since, no senior Wall Street executive has been criminally charged, and some lawmakers are questioning whether the U.S. Justice Department has been aggressive enough after declining to bring cases against officials at American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Countrywide Financial Corp.

Prosecutions of three categories of crime that could be linked to the causes of the crisis — corporate, securities and bank fraud — declined last fiscal year by 39 percent from 2003, the period after the accounting scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., Justice Department records show.

“You need a massive prosecutorial effort,” said Solomon Wisenberg, a white-collar defense attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Washington and a former federal prosecutor. “I don’t see evidence that it’s happening. If we were talking baseball, it would be at the AAA level.”

To read full story click here.

FBI Reports Drop in Violent Crimes in 2010; Murder Dropped by 4.4%

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Violent crimes and property crimes dropped in 2010 compared to the previous year, the FBI’s Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime report showed.

The report, released Monday, showed a 5.5 percent decrease in reported violent crimes compared to 2009. Property crimes dropped 2.8 percent.

The FBI reported that murder declined 4.4 percent , while forcible rape dropped 4.2 percent, robbery 9.5 percent, and aggravated assault 3.6 percent—all when compared with 2009 crime figures.

Geographically, the South saw the largest decline in violent crime (7.5 percent), followed by the Midwest (5.9 percent), the West (5.8 percent) and the Northeast (0.4 percent).

As for property crime, motor vehicle theft was down 7.2 percent, larceny-theft was down 2.8 percent, and burglary was down 1.1 percent. Arson fell 8.3 percent nationally.

To read more stats click here.

FBI Arrests Philly Mob Boss, Underboss and 9 Others


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The mob in Philadelphia got a rude awakening Monday morning.

FBI agents rounded up Philly reputed mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, underboss Joseph Massimino and nine other reputed associates, capping a lengthy probe that focused on crimes including violence, gambling, loan sharking, witness tampering and extortion,  the Justice Department announced.

Others arrested, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer,  included reputed mobsters Anthony Staino, Martin Angelina and Gaetan Lucibello and alleged mob associate Louis “Bent Finger” Lou Monacello.

The arrests came as a result of 50-count, superseding indictment of 13 mobsters, the Justice Department said. Two were already in prison.

The Philadelphia LCN Family has shown a remarkable ability to reorganize and reinvigorate itself, even as its members were sent to prison,” Assistant Attorney Gen. Lanny Breuer said at a press conference in Philly. ” According to the superseding indictment, Ligambi rose through the ranks of the organization, becoming an underboss, then acting boss and, finally, when his predecessor was sent to prison, the boss.

“Attorney General Robert Kennedy understood that the devastating grip of organized crime in this country had to be broken,” Breuer later said. ” Attorney General Holder has renewed that commitment. While we have pried loose La Cosa Nostra’s grip on power and influence, we know that there is still work to be done.

Ex-Teammate Who Testified in Fed Grand Jury Says Lance Armstrong Took Banned Drugs


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The doping case involving Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong — the subject of a federal grand jury in Los Angeles — is heating up.

A former teammate of Armstrong’s Tyler Hamilton told 60 Minutes that the international cycling authorities helped the legendary Armstrong cover up a positive test for the banned drug EPO in 2001.

Hamilton, who has testified before the grand jury, also told 60 Minutes that he saw Armstrong take banned drug and that he finally told his own family about the illegalities that had been going on.

“Well, I just told my family for the first time four days ago about all this. It was brutal. Was the first time, really, I confided in them and then told them the whole story, you know, starting from the first time I doped till to up through the end,” Hamilton told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.

To read more and see interview click here.

Did Ex-FBI Agent Lin DeVecchio Cross the Line with the Mob?

N.J. Gov. Christie Loads Up Administration With Former Fed Prosecutors

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Assistant U.S. Attorneys seem to have found a new home with New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie.

The Asbury Press reports that Christie, who was the U.S. Attorney in Newark from from 2002 though 2008, has appointed more than two dozen former federal prosecutors to his administration or State Superior Court. Nearly 20 worked directly for him.

Montclair State University political scientist Brigid Harrison told the Asbury Press that the move gives the image that the Christie administration is for clean government.

“The most obvious advantage is that there is a public perception that prosecutors are squeaky clean. And in a state with a reputation for corruption like New Jersey has, that offers voters and Gov. Christie a certain degree of credibility and legitimacy that comes automatically,” Harrison told the paper.

To read more click here.

New Head of Denver FBI Has Colorful, Global Experience

James Yacone/fbi photo

By Felisa Cardona
Denver Post

DENVER — James F. Yacone is a decorated combat veteran, an accomplished criminal investigator and a graduate of West Point, but he doesn’t like to brag.

The walls in his office at the Denver FBI are nearly bare, with just a sampling of photographs from his military service overseas despite his many awards and accolades.

“I am just an ordinary person put in extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

Yacone, 45, took over as special agent in charge of the Denver FBI in April after the retirement of James Davis, who went on to head the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

To read more click here.

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