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Tag: Corruption

FBI: Did NYPD Lt. Shoot Himself to Avoid Testifying Against Former Boss?

nypd badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Authorities are questioning whether an NYPD lieutenant shot himself twice in the stomach to avoid testifying against his friend and former boss.

The New York Post reports that Lt. Peter Salzone shot himself after he was interviewed by the FBI as part of a corruption investigation into the NYPD.

Salzone had been asked to testify against his former boss, NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant.

The Post wrote:

The NYPD’s Force Investigation Division is looking at the possibility that Salzone never intended to kill himself and merely wanted to appear emotionally unstable to sabotage his credibility as a witness, according to sources.

Salzone was stripped of his gun and badge Saturday. He could not be reached for comment.

He is the second police officer to shoot himself after getting called into the federal inquiry, which has seen dozens of cops get grilled.

Justice Department Drops Charges Against Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison in 2014 for allegedly accepting gifts from a businessman promoting a tobacco-based dietary supplement.

But his sentence was on hold as he appealed the case.

Now, the Justice Department is dismissing the 11 felony counts after the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in June that prosecutors mishandled the case by mixing evidence of illegal activity with routine courtesies, Politico reports. 

The Justice Department said the Supreme Court has made it too difficult to retry McDonnell.

McDonnell and his family went on vacations and received gifts and loans valued at $177,999 from the dietary supplement businessman, Johnnie Williams.

The Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors failed to show that McDonnell intended to provide help to William in exchange for gifts and loans.

“After carefully considering the Supreme Court’s recent decision and the principles of federal prosecution, we have made the decision not to pursue the case further,” said a statement issued Thursday by the Justice Department. “The department thanks the trial team and its investigative partners for their outstanding work on this case.”

McDonnell’s legal team applauded the victory.

“We have said from the very first day that Bob McDonnell is an innocent man. After a long ordeal traversing the entire legal system, that truth has finally prevailed. We are thrilled Governor McDonnell can finally move on from the nightmare of the last three years and begin rebuilding his life,” McDonnell lawyers Hank Asbill, John Brownlee and Noel Francisco said in a statement.

Inquirer Editorial: Philadelphia Politicians Are Constantly Under FBI Probes

police tapeBy Editorial Board
Philadelphia Inquirer

An FBI raid of the home and offices of electricians Local 98 boss John J. “Johnny Doc” Dougherty doesn’t mean he is guilty of anything. But the fact that the Justice Department keeps finding reason to investigate a union leader with strong ties to powerful elected officials is more than a bit unsettling in a city that only weeks ago saw a congressman convicted of corruption.

Federal agents similarly searched Dougherty’s home 10 years ago in trying to determine the source of mysterious bank deposits that they said suggested “an effort to conceal financial dealings.” Dougherty was given $200,000 to ren
ovate his home by his wife’s parents, his lawyer said. Investigators responded that Dougherty’s in-laws lived “paycheck to paycheck.” But no charges were filed.

In addition to Dougherty’s house, FBI agents executed search warrants Friday at his sister’s house next door; his union offices; the Mount Laurel home of Local 98 president Brian Burrows; and the City Hall and district offices of Councilman Bobby Henon, a former Local 98 political director. Henon, a rising star since his 2011 election, earlier this year ousted Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. as majority leader.

A source told the Inquirer that the FBI’s current focus was on the union’s finances and its involvement in the successful political campaigns last year of Mayor Kenney and state Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, John’s younger brother. Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said he had no reason to believe the investigation was related to him. Justice Dougherty provided no immediate comment.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Parker’s Wrap Up of the Supreme Court’s 2015-16 Criminal Cases, Including the Vacating of Ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Corruption Conviction

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

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.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

The Supremes spent a very busy June and completed opinions on six difficult criminal cases, as well as three important civil cases and several others totaling 24 opinions as of June 27th.

That constitutes more than a quarter of the opinions for the entire year. The Court did, of course, have other business, several hundred certiorari petitions to review for next term’s docket, in-chambers opinions (applications to stay proceedings etc.), orders, and a few per curiam opinions deemed not to be worthy of full, authored opinion. The Justices have, for the most part, cleared the deck so that they can visit the grandchildren.

The Court rounded off the term on criminal cases by vacating the conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell in a convincing unanimous opinion that not only restored his career hopes but also those of hundreds of legislators who feared the government’s interpretation of Hobbs Act bribery would make politics as usual a dicey business.

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

Ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell

The Court narrowed the definition of “official acts” and “pending question or matter” such that the standard assistance of constituents provided by politicians could not result in a career-ending indictment.  The Court did not go so far as to completely end McDonnell’s worries. It remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to review his claim that the evidence was insufficient, thus requiring dismissal of the charges. Even if he overcomes that hurdle or the Justice Department decides not to re-try the case, the question is whether future voters will forgive the First Couple’s receipt of $175,000 in shopping sprees and luxury vacations from someone who got essentially zero for his generosity.

As expected, the Court also vacated the judgment in Williams v. Pennsylvania, a capital case in which the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to recuse himself from ruling on a habeas petitioner’s appeal. What makes this action remarkable is that the Chief Justice, in his position as district attorney, had been involved in the criminal case by authorizing the decision to seek the death penalty and in supervising the case generally as head of the office. The vote, however, was closer than expected, 5-3, in reviewing this egregious behavior by former Chief Justice Castille. The dissent’s distinction was that the appeal involved a habeas decision, not the criminal phase of the case and occurred after Castille had left the prosecutor’s off ice. The state’s argument did not, however, pass the smell test, whatever artificial distinctions could be drawn.

In contrast, the Court ruled unanimously, 8-0, to reverse the 9th Circuit’s dismissal of the conviction in United States v. Bryant. The case held that tribal court domestic assault convictions could be valid predicates in a federal habitual offender prosecution, even though the prior convictions were without counsel. This was not a 6th Amendment violation since the right to counsel does not apply in this misdemeanor context in tribal courts. A victory for serially battered Native American women.

Read more »

More Public Corruption Charges Expected in FBI Case Targeting Pennsylvania Officials

Harrisburg Capitol Building.

Harrisburg Capitol Building.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is expected to make more public corruption arrests stemming from a case that targeted a onetime top aide to former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, the New York Times reports. 

John H. Estey, 53, is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud in federal court Tuesday.

The investigation involves a phony company established by the FBI to root out public corruption in Harrisburg.

“I would anticipate that there are a lot of people who are nervous and looking over their shoulder right now, because they know they had conversations with John Estey,” said Jeffrey Lindy, a Philadelphia defense lawyer and a former prosecutor.

More charges are likely, legal experts said.

“You’re not going to set up a fake corporation and go to all the trouble just to take down one guy,” said L. George Parry, a Philadelphia defense lawyer who as a former prosecutor helped set up the fake businesses.

FBI Reveals Video of Ex-Charlotte Mayor Soliciting, Accepting Bribes

Screenshot of video of  former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon.

Screenshot of video of former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI released video that shows former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon soliciting and accepting bribes from agents masquerading as real estate developers.

The videos were key evidence in his arrest, conviction and 44-month prison sentence for accepting more than $50,000 from an undercover agent and a Charlotte businessman, the Charlotte Observer reports. 

“I felt sick when it happened,” said former Mayor Richard Vinroot. “I felt sick again when I saw something I have never seen, and never imagined would ever happen in this good city,” he said. “It’s funny, you read about it – and the documents read so graphically. But now you see it, and it’s almost like a movie – somebody you know, doing something so terrible, so despicable while holding the highest office in the city.”

The FBI released eight videotapes and three audio recordings, which is uncharacteristic.

“The feds don’t release evidence,” said Charlotte defense attorney Claire Rauscher. “Once it was out in the public domain, I don’t think they had much of a choice.”

Fifth High-Ranking NYPD Officer Disciplined in Wake of FBI Corruption Probe

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NYPD disciplined its fifth high-ranking officer in the wake of the ongoing FBI corruption scandal.

Deputy Chef Andrew Capul, 56, was “reassigned to an administrative position pending further review,” according to an NYPD statement published by the New York Daily News. 

Capul often frequented the Hudson River Cafe, where the owner, Hamlet Peralta, is under investigation and has been charged with running a $12 million Ponzi scheme.

Capul’s discipline is the latest move by NYPD following the widening corruption investigation centered around businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who are accused of giving expensive gifts in exchange for police escorts and street closures for funerals and weddings.

NYPD Corruption Investigation Prompts Commissioner to Discipline 4 High-Ranking Cops

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI corruption investigation has prompted New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to discipline four high-ranking officers.

Two of the cops – a deputy chief and deputy inspector – were transferred and their guns and badges were taken. Two other deputy police chiefs were transferred to desk duty, the New York Post reports. 

Bratton expressed disappointment with the officers.

“The public has expectations of its public officials, of the leadership of the department, and those expectations were not met,” Bratton said during a news conference. “This is not a particularly good day for the department.”

The cops are believed to be connected to Philip Banks, the former chief of the department, who sources say is a target of an investigation into improperly accepting gifts from businessman Jeremy Reichberg.

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