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Tag: Assistant U.S. Attorney

FBI Probes Claims That Baltimore Police Falsify Reports to Build Cases

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating claims that a plainclothes unit of the Baltimore Police Department falsified reports to help their cases, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The complaints come from Kendall Richburg, who served on the Violent Crimes Impact Section and was charged with federal drug and gun offenses.

The Sun reported that Richburg told authorities he was among many on the unit to falsify reports.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Copperthite said Thursday that some cases of improper paperwork were found among his colleagues.

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Fla. Lawmaker Resigns After Admitting He Sent Anonymous, Flirtatious Texts to Fed Prosecutor

Rep Steinberg/official photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Florida state lawmaker announced his resignation on Friday after admitting that he sent anonymous, flirtatious text messages in 2011 to a married assistant U.S. Attorney, ABC 25 reported.

The admission by Fla. House Rep. Richard Steinberg, 39,  came after the Secret Service traced the unsolicited texts he sent to assistant U.S attorney, Marlene Fernandez-Karavetsos, who is married. Steinberg is married and has a daughter, according to the Miami Herald. The texts were sent over a three-month period via phone with software that disguised the number.

NBC Miami reported that the station reported that the federal prosecutor knew Steinberg professionally, but not in an intimate way.

The station reported that some of the messages went like this:

itsjustme24680: sexxxxy mama? 🙂

Fernandez-Karavetsos: How do i know you?

itsjustme24680: Hi…sorry, I missed you… what’s up?

 

Ex-Fed Prosecutor: A Letter to My Son on Moral Decisions in Light of Penn State

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Dear Son,

As your enthusiasm builds for leaving home and going off to college in a few months, I want to talk with you about having to make on-the-spot moral, legal, and social decisions when you are on your own.

As you know, the news has been filled with reports and commentary about the alleged incidents at Penn State involving former Defensive Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually molesting disadvantaged young boys who participated in his charity. He has denied the charges in the indictment, and due process of law will determine his guilt or innocence.

Up for discussion in the unforgiving public forum are the actions of Assistant Coach Mike McQueary who, on March 1, 2002 at 9:30 p.m., while he was a grad assistant entered the practice facility to obtain some video tapes to review. He heard noises from the shower area and went to investigate. According to reports of his grand jury testimony, he was “distraught” when he saw Sandusky raping a ten-year old boy.

It is unclear what happened next. McQueary apparently made no mention in the grand jury about intervening to save the child, but in the last couple days he has hinted that he forced Sandusky to stop. He then called his father, with whom he had a close relationship, for advice on what to do next. Then he contacted Coach Joe Paterno and reported the incident. Later he also told two other Athletic Department officials. These three, however, say that his report was not detailed enough to cause them to take further action of some kind.

It is clear that no one reported the crime to the police or to Child Protective Services. Allegedly Sandusky’s access to the children and the Penn State facilities was not restricted, and he inflicted other such assaults on children during the nine years that have followed. Both Paterno and McQueary continued to publicly support Sandusky’s charitable activities.

The public reaction to McQueary and Paterno has ranged from commendation to vilification. Paterno, probably the most revered football coach in America, was summarily fired and McQueary, perhaps because of his legal protection as a whistleblower, has been placed on paid administrative leave. Probably neither will have any connection to college football again.

The issue worth thinking about is whether McQueary’s response, whatever it was, presents a moral and legal lesson for the rest of us. In my generation a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York’s Central Park while dozens failed to take action when they heard her cries for help. Social psychologists have labeled the phenomenon diffusion of responsibility or bystander effect, but the bottom line is that, when confronted with a moral imperative, people who could have saved her life failed to act.

McQueary has been showered with the moral opprobrium of the commentators who have assumed he failed to stop the assault. They have hastened to assure their listeners that they would have assuredly stepped up stopped the violence and called the cops. Jane Turner, an FBI psychological profiler who specializes in child sex crimes, however has indicated that in her experience most people would have walked away as McQueary is alleged to have done. She writes:

“It takes enormous strength to put one’s moral integrity over your personal inclination to protect fellow colleagues who have committed malfeasance, or criminal activity. The FBI, like Penn State and the Catholic Church, are entities that allows their personnel to report allegations up a chain of command but those in positions of power or change, fail to take immediate or strong actions. It simply boils down to the fact that those in power have a stronger desire to preserve the reputation of their institution, than taking the road of truth or justice. Entities like Penn State, the Catholic Church and the FBI all share something in common; they operate in an insular world where rules or laws that apply to everyone else, do not apply to them.”

Early in my career as a prosecutor, my boss Len Gilman made it clear to us that our job was to do what was right even if we as individuals or our office had to pay the price of being embarrassed or worse. And a couple times we were.

Assume for the sake of this letter that Mike McQueary is neither a hero nor a villain but just a guy who hesitated, as a majority of others would have in 2002, when suddenly confronted with a terrible moral issue. Just a guy who knew that the price to be paid for more aggressive action would be to jeopardize the head coach he idolized, the powerful institution and football program to which he was so loyal, and the future he wanted so badly.

So he called his dad for guidance, then Joe Pa. And that apparently was it, for nine years, until it hit the fan, as it seems with increasing frequency to do. If we have learned nothing else from the massive tragedy that has so damaged the Catholic Church, it is that doing nothing, protecting people and institutions that seem so invulnerable at the time, will usually be disastrous for everyone concerned. And now a legend will die, a great university tarnished for a generation and saddled with millions of dollars of civil settlements, and an apparently otherwise fine young man’s dreams dashed forever. Worst of all, boys who had tough enough lives already were damaged by a man who should have been isolated so he couldn’t harm others.

Son, I hope you always have the luxury of time for meditation and parental guidance before you have to act on a moral issue. But if you don’t, consider this your father’s advice.

Demonstrate the courage I know you have to step up, do what is right, protect the vulnerable, call the police and support them in any way they ask. If there is a price to pay, we will share it together and you will be compensated by the respect of your family and friends.

Oh, and call your mother once in a while.

Dad

Fed Judge Says Govt. Doesn’t Have to Pay for FBI Agent Smashing Up $750,000 Ferrari

Latest model of Ferrari F50

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Having immunity has its benefits.

U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn of Detroit has dismissed a lawsuit by a suburban Detroit insurance company that was trying to get the government to pay up after an FBI agent smashed up a stolen $750,000, 1995 F50 Ferrari that was in government custody, the Associated Press reported.

The judge ruled that federal law grants immunity to the feds if the property is being held by law enforcement, AP reported.

The judge concluded that the wreck was “certainly unfortunate,” but the government can’t be sued in these matters, AP’s Ed White  reported.

AP reported that the insurance company, Motors Insurance of Southfield, Mi., believes the FBI agent and the prosecutor in the car were taking the Ferrari for a joyride when the agent lost control in 2009 in Lexington, Ky.

AP reported that the car was stolen in Rosemont, Pa., in 2003 and eventually recovered in Kentucky.

AP reported that an email released to the insurance company showed that Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson was invited for a “short ride” before the car was moved from the impound garage.

 

Ex-Philly Interim U.S. Atty. Laurie Magid in Hot Water

Ex-U.S. Atty. Laurie Magid

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-interim Philly U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid is facing some serious allegations.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has alleged that as a government employee Magid improperly held fundraisers for Sen. Arlen Specter in 2008 and one for U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan in 2009, and solicited funds from subordinates at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the fundraisers, according to the counsel’s Feb. 15 document posted on  Politico.

The special counsel has recommended disciplinary action for violating the Hatch Act law. which  limits political activity by federal employees.

Magid was the first assistant U.S. Attorney from summer 2005 until  July 2008 when she became acting U.S. Attorney. From February 2009 to May 2009 she was the interim U.S. Attorney and then was replaced.

The Office of Special Counsel document stated that in  2008, Magid’s husband was hosting a fundraiser at their home for Sen. Arlen Specter.

The document alleged that she helped her husband and invited eight assistant U.S. attorneys (AUSAs) for the Sen. Specter fundraiser.

“At least one one AUSA expressed concern that he felt pressure to attend this political fundraiser,” the document said.

In early 2009, the husband threw a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Patrick Meehan, the former U.S. Attorney, who eventually decided to run for Congress. Magid helped her husband with the invite list, which included 35 of her subordinate employees. Of those, about 18 got the invitations at their official U.S. Attorney address, the document said.

“When invitations were received, performance evaluations were in progress,” the document said. “Several of respondent’s subordinate employees  expressed concerns that they  felt pressure to attend this political fundraiser or make a financial contribution.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Magid did not respond to an e-mail for comment, and a person at her home said she was not available to respond.

Read Document

Column: Former Assist. U.S. Atty. Says Miranda Warning Works Just Fine In Terrorist Cases

Steven Levin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Maryland and North Carolina for 10 years before forming a law firm Levin & Gallagher.  He had previously  served on active duty for seven years in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney  and a trial attorney.  He is the co-author of a blog on white collar crime called Fraud With Peril.

Steve Levin

Steve Levin

By Steven Levin

Attorney General Holder’s approval rating dropped about as quickly as the Dow Jones did last Thursday when he told Congress in March of this year that he predicted that “we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Perhaps recognizing that his inartful comment only served to confuse his supporters and outrage his detractors, he tried again in April when he told Congress that the evidence against Bin Laden was “sufficient” enough that, assuming he were captured, any additional statements by him would not be necessary. I may be among the minority of Americans (whether a supporter or a detractor) who believes AG Holder’s initial statement was better than his clarification.

When Miranda v. Arizona was argued before the Supreme Court in 1966, the government warned the Court that the required use of procedural safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” would more or less result in the end of successful interrogations.

In other words, once an accused were informed that he had, say, the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations, the accused would naturally invoke those rights and a confession would rarely, if ever, follow.

Most people involved in the criminal justice system would disagree with this dire forecast and confirm that it is extremely common for an accused to waive his rights. (Of course, there are exceptions: Miranda himself was eventually killed in a knife fight in 1976 by a suspect who, ironically, invoked his Miranda rights.)

Read more »

Ex-Assist. U.S. Atty Pleads Guilty in Prostitution Ring

hooker1

Former federal prosecutor Paul Bergrin found that he could run a $1,000 an hour escort service and charge more than an attorney does. Now he’s paying for it.

Daniel Wise
New York Law Journal

More than two years after being accused of operating a Manhattan-based call-girl ring, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney was allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts under a deal that resulted in no jail time.

Paul Bergrin, 53, who was a solo practitioner when he was indicted in 2007, faced a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years if convicted on the top count against him, first-degree money laundering. In all, he was charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors.

Bergrin, a former prosecutor for Essex County and for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, was accused of taking over the operation of a $1,000-an-hour escort service called NY Confidential after its manager, Jason Itzler, was arrested in January, 2005.

Bergrin was also accused of falsely telling the New Jersey Parole Board that Itzler, who was his client, had worked for him as a paralegal in a case where Bergrin was defending a soldier accused of committing abuses at the Abu Graib prison in Iraq.

For Full Story