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Archive for June 10th, 2011

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Detroit Drug World

It’s Blago Time: Chicago Fed Jury Begins Deliberating Friday


Blagojevich as governor/state photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s the moment of truth.

Jury deliberations in Blago II — the retrial of ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich —  begins Friday.

Don’t expect a quick verdict.

The jury will have to plow through 20 counts, which should take some time.

No Surprise: Raleigh U.S. Attorney George Holding Announces Resignation

U.S. Atty. George Holding

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a move that comes as no surprise, Raleigh U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding announced his resignation Friday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

The announcement by the Bush appointee comes in wake of the indictment of twice-presidential hopeful John Edwards. The resignation is effective July 8, the paper reported.

North Carolina’s two senators had agreed to leave Holding in the post until the conclusion of the case to avoid accusations of politics and any attempt to slow the probe.

President Obama has nominated Thomas Walker of Charlotte to be the new U.S. Attorney. He has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

Holding was appointed to the post by President Bush in 2006.

Big-Time NY Lawyer Has Lost Mob Clients After Cooperating With the Feds

Joseph Tacopina/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The headline on the website Gang Land News says it all: “Red Hot NY Lawyer Tacopina Gets Big Chill From Wiseguys.”

The headline was in reference to hotshot lawyer Joseph Tacopina, who was once the go-to guy for a lot of mobsters.

But no more — apparently not since he became a cooperating witness and dished  info to the feds.

“While Tacopina has represented numerous wiseguys and cohorts of at least four New York area crime families in years past, his current roster of clients appears devoid of mob-tied customers, local court databases show,” writes Jerry Capeci, editor of Gang Land News.

Gang Land News reported that Tacopina’s wiseguy clients seemed to vanish after he found himself in the middle of a fee-splitting and tax evasion probe of a prominent New York lawyers  and became a cooperating witness. Gang Land reported that the probe stemmed from an investigation into former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was a Tacopina client.

Gangland reported that Tacopina became a cooperating witness against Kerik and also told federal investigators that he had funneled about $100,000 to attorney Ronald Fischetti ” from legal fees that he had received from a client whom Fischetti had referred to him in a major state court prosecution.”

Gang Land reported that the fee splitting is not a crime, but could lead to disciplinary action. It can also lead to criminal tax problems. The investigation never lead to any criminal charges.

Still, Gang Land News quoted an unnamed defense attorney as saying:

“It’s an open secret that Tacopina threw Fischetti under the bus four years ago, and that’s a really big issue for wiseguys – and lots of lawyers too.”

Tacopina declined to comment for Gang Land News.  Fischetti told the website that the allegations against him were not true.

N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Assigned to U.S. Marshals Task Force Shot and Killed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A sheriff’s deputy assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service task force was shot and killed Thursday while trying to serve an arrest warrant in a murder in Kinston, N.C., station WRAL reported.

The station reported that the deputy, Warren “Sneak” Lewis, was a nine-year veteran of the Nash County Sheriff’s Department.

The station reported that Lewis was approaching a home around 7 p.m. to serve a warrant when someone opened fire. The station reported that five people were detained, including three suspected in a June 2 murder.

“Investigator Lewis was a gentle soul and would go out of his way to give you the shirt off his back, if he thought you needed it. He will definitely be missed, and he leaves a void at this office that will never be filled,” Sheriff Dick Jenkins said in a statement.

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