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Archive for May 1st, 2015

Weekend Series on Crime History: Parole Denied for Jimmy Hoffa

Steve Cook Elected President of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Steve Cook

Steven H. Cook, chief of the Criminal Division in the Eastern District of Tennessee, has been elected president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

Cook has been a prosecutor in the Eastern District of Tennessee for 28 years. Over the years, he has worked in the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, the General Crimes Section handling white collar crime, fraud and public corruption cases and as chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crime Section.

“NAAUSA’s first priority is eliminating the large pay gap between new and mid-career AUSAs and their DOJ trial attorney counterparts, improving security for AUSAs and their families and assuring AUSAs have the necessary tools to perform their responsibilities,” he said in a statement.

Others newly elected to the Executive Committee include:

  • Vice President of Policy: John Nordin, Central District of California
  • Vice President for Operations and and Membership: Larry Leiser, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Secretary: Kathleen Bickers, District of Oregon
  • Treasurer: Steve Wasserman, District of Columbia
  • At-Large: Greg Bowman, Eastern District of Tennessee
  • At Large: Karen Escobar, Eastern District of California
  • At-Large: Craig Haller, Western District of Pennsylvania

Former FBI Agent Charged with Lying Under Oath During ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent accused of lying under oath during the 2013 James “Whitey” Bulger trial has pleaded not guilty, Boston.com reports.

Retired FBI supervisor Robert Fitzpatrick, 75, is charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of obstruction of justice.

Boston.com wrote that Fitzpatrick worked for the FBI from 1965 to 1986 and supervised the organized crime department in the late 1980s.

While investigating organized crime, Fitzpatrick used Bulger as an informant, according to the indictment.

Bulger was convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to life in prison.

The indictment alleges Fitzpatrick made “false material declarations designed to aid Bulger’s defense” while testifying in Bulger’s trial in late July 2013.

FBI Director James Comey Plays Down Terrorism Threats at Southern Border

Director James B. Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For the first time as director of the FBI, James Comey visited the agency’s field office in South Texas and tried to ease concerns about terrorists using the southern border.

“I do not see any indication of terrorists using the southwest border to cross with the assistance of the cartels or otherwise,” Comey said, KSAT.com wrote.

Comey also said there’s no evidence of terrorist training camps, as reported by some members of the media.

“That’s just false,” Comey said.

Still, Comey emphasized, the bureau and its Mexican counterparts are monitoring the border closely.

Justice Department to Spend $20M on Body Cameras for Police

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to help police departments equip officers with body cameras, The Washington Post reports. 

The DOJ is launching a pilot program to determine the impact of the cameras, which come at a time when protesters nationwide are accusing police of unlawful force and racism.

The plan is to spend nearly $20 million on cameras for dozens of departments.

“This body-worn camera pilot program is a vital part of the Justice Department’s comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support, and training they need to tackle the 21st century challenges we face,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Lynch said the idea is to learn what really happens when accusations are made.

“Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” Lynch said.

A separate task force found that body cameras reduce the use of force by police.

“Now that agencies operate in a world in which anyone with a cell phone camera can record video footage of a police encounter, [body cameras] help police departments ensure that events are also captured from an officer’s perspective,” the report stated.

Secret Service Continues to Pay Ousted Deputy Director After Leadership Changes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Members of Congress are finding little reason to begin trusting the Secret Service again after a series of blunders and employee problems.

The House Oversight and Government Reform committee discovered this week that Alvin “A.T.” Smith, who was ousted as deputy director of the agency, is still paid by the Secret Service, The Washington Post reports.  

Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy testified that Smith, a 29-year veteran of the agency, is still being paid by Secret Service, even though he has been detailed within the Homeland Security to work with CBP.

“You have done, Mr. Clancy, a very good job of building trust and confidence, and it’s flushed down the toilet when I read and hear about these things. You said to us … that we’re implementing fundamental changes,” committee chairman Jason Chaffetz said. “Don’t ever come back here to Congress and tell me that you have a financial problem when you’ve got A.T. Smith on your payroll and you say you don’t have enough money. You shouldn’t have to pay for that out of your budget.”

The committee discovered another high-level agent who was forced out also is still on the payroll, working for ICE.

TSA Agent Charged with Faking Cancer for 5 Years to Get Out of Work

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA agent has been charged with faking cancer for five years in an attempt to stay out of work, The Associated Press reports.

The former TSA agent, Marc Bess, was arrested after authorities said they discovered he was lying about having abdominal lymphoma.

In fact, he’s cancer-free, the AP reported.

Investigators said Bess forged doctor’s notes.

He’s being charged with embezzlement and stealing public money.

According to court records, Bess took 280 days in sick leave.

Other Stories of Interest