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Archive for June 6th, 2011

Rep. Issa Says Will Have a Series of Hearings This Summer on ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious

DEA Task Force Cop and Attorney Indicted on Bribery Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A California cop assigned to a DEA task force was indicted for taking a $2,500 bribe from a defense attorney, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles announced Monday.

Rialto, Calif. Police Officer Aaron Scott Vigil, 41, of Highland, Calif., along with criminal defense attorney Lawrence Anthony Witsoe, 67, of Mission Viejo, Calif. were named in a three count federal bribery indictment unsealed Monday morning.

Authorities charged that attorney Witsoe told a client facing assault charges in Orange County Superior Court that for $2,500 he could get an assault charge dismissed by having a DEA agent tell the district attorney’s office and say he was a cooperative informant who helped in cases.

Vigil subsequently contacted the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on several occasions and explained that Witsoe’s client had provided reliable information regarding drug traffickers and that his cooperation led to the DEA seizing $110,000 in drug money, the indictment said.

The case was dismissed.

John Edwards Passed on Plea; Didn’t Want to Accept Months in Prison

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two-time presidential candidate John Edwards didn’t want to be a jailbird.

The Raleigh News  & Observer reports that Edwards was willing to plead guilty to three misdemeanor campaign finance law violations, but not go to prison for up to six months as prosecutors wanted.

“Edwards and his lawyers were concerned. They wanted the ability to at least argue to a judge for alternatives, such as a halfway house, weekend releases, home arrest or some arrangement that would allow Edwards to be with his school-age children,” the paper reported. “He is a single parent after the death of his wife, Elizabeth, in December.”

Edwards, 57, was indicted Friday on charges that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign funds to cover up an extra-marital affair during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Edwards insists he never did anything intentionally wrong.

Then again,  he initially denied, and later admitted that he fathered a child with his mistress.

To read more click here.

Atlanta-based Website Affiliated with FBI is Hacked

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A non-profit website based in Atlanta that partners with the FBI and other organizations, and tracks cyber-crimes, was shut down Sunday after it was hacked, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The paper reported that InfraGard Atlanta, which partners with local business, government, academic security experts and the FBI, was hacked late last week by a group of hackers known as Lulz Security.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Lulz hijacked the InfraGard site late last week and published the email addresses, usernames and passwords of its 180 members.

Stephen Emmett, an FBI spokesman, said via email Sunday, according to the paper: “The FBI and its partners at the Atlanta Chapter (of) Infragard, a cyber security information sharing collaborative, are aware of the recent efforts to breach its Atlanta Chapter website. As a precaution, that website has been shut down.”

Mentally Ill Woman Reaches Front Yard of Pres. Bush’s Dallas Home

white house photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President George W. Bush and wife Laura continue to get the occasional unexpected visitor at their home in Dallas.

The station WTSP reports that a mentally ill woman reached the front yard of the ex-president’s Dallas home on Friday afternoon and was taken into custody for questioning.

Sources told the station that the woman got around the fence and gate that surround the home. The ex-president and his wife weren’t home.

The U.S. Secret Service questioned the woman and has had contact with her in the past, the station reported. It also reported that the Secret Service did not consider her a threat.

Last December, days before Christmas, a motorist tooling around the upscale Dallas neighborhood in his muscle car accidentally hopped the curb and ended up on the lawn of the Bush home. Secret Service at the time it appeared to simply be an accident.

Edwards Case a Test for Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After screwing up the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section will get another chance — this time with ex-Sen. John Edwards– to prove it can take down a high profile public figure without any major goofs.

You might recall the Public Integrity Section convicted Ted Stevens on very-straight forward public corruption charges in 2008, only to have the whole thing tossed out for prosecutorial misconduct after prosecutors failed to turn over key evidence to the defense.

“This case is just as important for the government as it is for Edwards,” Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and co-author of “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption” told the Christian Science Monitor.

The Public Integrity Section “certainly understands they’re under the microscope,” he said.

Since the Stevens case, the unit has gotten a new new chief, former New York-based federal prosecutor Jack Smith, the Christian Science Monitor reported. And the Justice Department has ordered training for prosecutors to assure that they disclose key evidence to defense attorneys.

“Will a federal prosecutor ever make another mistake in the course of complying with his or her disclosure obligations?” US Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer asked at a recent symposium, according to the paper. “Of course. We are human – and in an age when the discovery in a single case may consist of terabytes of information, the challenges are significant.”

The paper reports that the Justice Department will have its challenges when prosecuting Edwards. The two-time presidential candidate  has claimed he had no idea his aides spent hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars to hide his lover, campaign videographer Rielle Hunter during the 2008 bid for president.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Higdon Jr. and Brian S. Meyers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina along with Deputy Chief Justin V. Shur and Trial Attorneys David V. Harbach II and Jeffrey E. Tsai of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.