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Archive for September 1st, 2011

Arizona U.S. Atty.’s Abrupt Resignation Raises Doubts About Political Future

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — Dennis Burke, one of Arizona’s most prominent and well-connected Democratic political figures, abruptly resigned as the state’s top federal prosecutor Tuesday, stirring doubts about earlier expectations that he might mount a bid for governor, attorney general or U.S. senator.

Burke served in Washington as a senior adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and in Arizona as her chief of staff when she was governor. His departure as U.S. Attorney comes as congressional investigators and an internal Justice Department inquiry are examining how an Arizona-based federal gun-trafficking investigation may have allowed as many as 2,000 guns to flow to criminals.

Many Arizona politicos assumed that Burke was trying to walk in Napolitano’s footsteps by seeking a federal prosecutor’s job, then perhaps the Arizona attorney general’s post and the governor’s office. However, Arizona analysts said those possibilities now seem more remote in the wake of Burke’s sudden resignation and as questions swirl about his office’s handling of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives probe known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”

To read full story click here.

Fed Prosecutors Drop Remaining Charges Against Barry Bonds

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Baseball slugger Barry Bonds got a little good news even though he faces sentencing Dec. 16 for an obstruction of justice conviction in San Francisco.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday dropped the remaining three charges of making false statement, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The jury had deadlocked on those charges in April, opening the door for the prosecution to consider a retrial.

The Times reported that prosecutors dropped the charges days after a judge upheld the obstruction of justice conviction.

 

Calif. Atty. Convicted of Taking Bribes to Get Client to Lie to Grand Jury

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A California attorney thought he’d make some extra cash by getting his client to lie before a grand jury in Los Angeles in a visa fraud case. Now he won’t need that cash when he heads off to prison.

Alfred Nash Villalobos, 46, of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., was found guilty Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles of taking $50,000 in bribes to get his client to lie to the grand jury and a federal prosecutor. The $50,000 was part more than $100,000 he was demanding from a Century City attorney, whose client was the the target of the grand jury, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Authorities say the problem with the little scheme was that the Century City attorney Villalobos was shaking down had gone to the FBI and was recording the conversations.

For Villalobos, it was not such a clever plan after all.

 

FBI Donates Artifacts from 9/11 Attack to Newseum in D.C.

Cellphones and pagers donated to museum/newseum photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

We all remember that eerie day — Sept. 11, 2001 — when terrorists took a routine Tuesday and shook it so hard and turned it upside down and changed forever  the way we travel and think about security and radical movements abroad.

To bring back some vivid memories, the FBI has donated dozens of artifacts to the Newseum in Washington including engine parts and landing gear from airlines that crashed into the World Trade Center, cellphones and pagers recovered from the Trade Center — some which rang for days after the attack — and personal belongings of airplane passengers.

The museum, in a press release, said the artifacts are part of a display on the FBI’s role in fighting terrorism before and after Sept. 11, 2001.

It will be open to the public beginning  Sept. 2.

 

Oracle Investigation Latest in Trend in Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Crackdown by Justice Dept.

 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The Software company Oracle is being investigated by the FBI, reports the Guardian, in what some see as a trend in the increase of prosecutions under the foreign corrupt practices act (FCPA), which forbids U.S. companies from paying bribes to foreign government officials or employees of state-owned companies.

“Every week there seem to be more and more companies going through what Oracle is going through,” said Butler University professor Mike Koehler, who maintains a blog on the subject, according to The Guardian.

Koehler cited increasing globalization and the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which brought stricter corporate disclosure requirements, for the increase. He said  FCPA actions in 2010 accounted for 50% of the fines levied by the Justice department’s criminal division.

“The Justice Department brought 24 enforcement actions in 2010, up from five in 2004, and has brought seven so far this year,” the Guardian reports.

Other software companies have or are facing similar concerns; Hewlett-Packard is currently under investigation, and IBM paid the SEC $10 million this year on similar charges.

Investigators are looking at whether or not Oracle or it’s employees paid government officials to secure software contracts in western and central Africa.

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